Jesus was very involved in politics. He was so involved that the political rulers of his nation—the Sanhedrin of the Jewish nation—determined that he had to be killed. But Jesus never voted, nor did he gather up people to depose the existing rulers. Nor did he participate in making himself well-liked so that he would be declared ruler, nor did he gather an army together to take over the land he called his own. Yet he was very involved—he called himself the King and spoke of his kingdom deposing the evil rulers. In the same way Jesus was politically involved, so his followers are—to this very day.
Political Context: The Unheard Underdogs
Over the centuries the true followers of Jesus obeyed the same context and followed the same political strategy. They were unknowns, representing the weak and helpless, with only God on their side. They had idealistic platforms—the same as Jesus’, actually—and remained unpopular to the majority of people. Nevertheless, they were significant enough to be persecuted by political leaders and to be hated. And in this way, they created political change. Some of the communities who enacted this strategy are known today—the Waldensians, the Franciscans, the Anabaptists, the American Civil Rights Movement. Their strategy was direct and effective—without voting, partisan politics or military might.
How can it be done?
How can such a strategy succeed? How can the unheard of nobodies, even with a charismatic leader, make political change? They follow the method of Jesus’ political involvement, as follows:
Call to Personal Transformation
Jesus enacted his political change, not by creating a huge social movement, but by dealing with people one by one, calling them to a moral transformation by the power of God. Jesus called people to freedom and well-being, not by the salvations of the world—economics, authority or human laws—but salvation by the power of God (Zechariah 4:6). Jesus said that those who followed him would not only have lives pleasing to God, but also pleasing to themselves—they would have righteousness, peace and joy, all handed to them by God (John 16:20; Romans 14:17). Thus, those who follow Jesus could all truly say, "I am better off than before I followed Jesus."
Speaking against injustice
Most people think of prayer as a religious act, but it is actually the most powerful political weapon that exists. God is the king of the universe, and the Bible says every ruler gains authority or loses authority on his say-so (Daniel 5:21). God is very involved in human politics, and those who can have God listen to them have the greatest political power on earth—greater than any vote, or army. Through prayer, rulers can be set aside, nations can be thwarted and political powers can be overthrown—all by the power of God.
Healing and Deliverance
Again, most people understand healings and exorcisms by the power of God to be in the realm of religious power. However, in the ancient world, those who had power over spirits were seen to be politically powerful. For this reason, Jesus’ enemies tried to discredit him (Matthew 12:22-24). You see if Jesus had authority in the spirit realm, that meant that he deserved authority in the earthly realm and would gain it, eventually. Even so, today, as the followers of Jesus heal the physically and mentally ill by the authority of Jesus, it shows that Jesus has greater power than doctors and psychiatrists, and that the whole basis of the health care system is shown to be wrong. That is a powerful political statement—and one that is demonstrated, not just spoken about.