The Gospel of John tells us that the masses were so impressed by Jesus and his signs and wonders that they wanted to grab him and force him on top of a mighty, white steed wearing a King’s crown and swinging a big sword.
That, after all, was the kind of Messiah that people were expecting to come and forcefully and violently vanquish all the oppressive forces that ruled them.
But Jesus, sensing that they wanted to crown him as the kind of king they expected and so desperately wanted, ran hastily to the hills:
“When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’
“When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” (See John 6: 14-15)
It seems that many among us Americans want a King–or Queen–to “take back America” and the world, in the name of Jesus Christ, no less.
Progressives want an ass-kicking, uncompromising progressive King or Queen (preferably, at the moment, a Queen); conservatives want an ass-kicking, uncompromising conservative King or Queen (it’s gotta be a King).
Rigidly progressive and rigidly conservative Christians want a ruler who will rule in the name of a very progressive Christian or a very conservative Christian.
Back in the biblical day, the Messiah rode into town on a humble donkey, unarmed, and not on a big, white steed.
The Messiah wanted nothing to do with the world’s idea of a political, power-mad King.
But I would argue that depending on what side of the political dividing line we’re on, we aren’t really interested whatsoever in a leader who is Christ-like, however conservative or progressive we might think we are. Or how ideologically pure we think our ideal Kingfish (or Queenfish) would be.
We’re perfectly willing to be lied to by political office-holders and candidates who break The Ten Commandments with reckless abandon every day.
And we’re OK with their lying to us even as they finish every sentence with “God bless America!” or push to have the Ten Commandments posted all over schools and other government properties.
As Kurt Vonnegut famously noted:
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“’Blessed are the merciful’” in a courtroom? “’Blessed are the peacemakers’” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
Standing in Christian solidarity with the meek, the poor, the merciful and the peacemakers and such–good luck getting elected with that party platform.