Jesus’ Church is better than politics. Okay, so that’s not saying that much these days when congress only garners a 10 percent approval rating. I don’t mean that the church is more liked or that it’s more popular than politics. Church is just better. It’s more effective. Notice that I didn’t say religion is better than politics. Jesus did not establish a religion. He left us with His Church!
Many people look to politics to save us. When they speak of the substance of life, they only speak in terms of rights, laws, and freedoms. Governments do have a very, very important place in society, but a government is left impotent when the people it seeks to govern approach it with rebellious hearts. Rights and laws seek to make us free in a dysfunctional society that has lost its ability to seek the truth, act with humility, and work with integrity. Ultimately people govern themselves, and the government they live under is a reflection of their mores, whims, ethics, and fortitude. Maybe our nation is not failing because of Congress. Maybe Congress is failing because of us.
Back in Jesus’ day most of the people expected Jesus to be a political messiah. They expected Him to gain influence in the political system and lead a revolt against Rome that would return Judaism to the powerful nationhood it experienced under Kings David and Solomon. To them, the only “real” messiah was a political messiah.
Jesus never got into politics. In fact, he steered clear saying, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Jesus did get into church, though. He once told a disciple, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
The Roman Empire has long vanished since Jesus’ day. Nations have risen and fallen. But the Church that Jesus established is thriving around the world. It is full of people who are giving their lives for a higher calling than rights, laws, and even freedoms. The Church that Jesus established is full of people who are living sacrificially for the benefit of other people, for the benefit of the greater good, and to share with people the Good News of Jesus which frees them from a sinful heart.
Some would say that the Church is full of hypocrites, and that it’s not worth the time, the money, or the effort. Some insiders are hyper-critical of it, evaluating each church like a fine piece of art, but never picking up a paint brush. But the Church that Jesus established remains beautiful! There is nothing else like it on earth. Countless hearts have been changed. Marriages have been saved, criminals have been reformed, addicts have found new life, orphans have been adopted, poor people have been fed, sick people have been cared for, needy people have been helped, lonely people have been loved, injustice has been challenged, and sinners have been freed.
In parts of the world where persecution is the worst, the Church seems to be at its best. It loves radically, serves extravagantly, gives sacrificially, and worships tenderly. God uses the Church that Jesus established to minister to our bruised hearts, draw us closer to His presence, and equip us to help others.
Nope, the Church that Jesus established is not perfect. It is very, very human. It has been hijacked by ignoble people and ignoble causes at times (much less often than government or any other institution, for that matter), but it remains a shining beacon of hope in every place where it exists. The Church that Jesus established is the hope of the world and for over 2,000 years, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it. Where Jesus’ Church has shined the brightest, the society has been the healthiest; where the Church’s light has been dimmed or misused, the society has been left wanting. Discover a great church. Love your church. Jesus’ Church is the hope of the world!