Holy Week and Unholy Politics

I was honored that my pastor invited me to preach on Palm Sunday. The topic I chose was hard: How does God’s Gospel relate to Politics? Well, as they say, “It’s complicated!” God’s King and God's Kingdom are above and beyond the world’s politics. You can hear or download my message on “The Gospel According to Caiaphas.”

What might we have read in a Jerusalem newspaper published just after Jesus rode into Jerusalem with crowds shouting,
“Hosanna — God, please save us!” We have no digital archives. But you might have read something like this in the print edition:

Jerusalem Post. Dateline: Spring AD 33. 5 Days before Passover

Yesterday, the Capital City was shaken. A Prophet from Galilee entered the city on a donkey, causing a major stir. Citizens were overheard asking, ‘Who’s this?’ Crowd size estimates differ widely. But all agree that a man named Jesus was greeted like a new king David.

This newspaper asked various citizens for opinions and comments. Herod’s officials already knew about this so-called Prophet. They had recently challenged Jesus on the legality of paying Roman taxes. King Herod is appointed by Caesar, and so his political cronies don’t want anyone to upset Rome.

Our Post reporter also talked to a few firebrands just added to Rome’s terror watch list. These zealots claim that Jesus can provision a small army by multiplying scarce rations. One of them said, ‘If Jesus doesn’t overthrow the puppet Herod, we must start to plan a violent revolt against Roman occupation.’

We asked some aristocratic rulers of the Temple. The High Priest would not speak on the record. So we interviewed some other mainline liberal priests. They are very upset by recent reports that Jesus raised a man from the dead out in the city suburb of Bethany.

To get a middle class perspective, we talked to leaders of the local houses of worship. We thought that these family-values conservatives would be more sympathetic to Jesus. And they do believe in miracles. But these popular Bible teachers are also upset — since Jesus is cozy with so many sinful people. And Jesus apparently has claimed that he plans to fulfill God’s law.

We sent a Post reporter into the desert to talk to a reclusive group that won’t come near Jerusalem. They think Judaism is beyond redemption. But, from their study of sacred books in their caves, they say that one of last prophets wrote that Israel’s true king would ride on a donkey — like a Prince of Peace, and not like a Roman man of war.

So everyone is now asking: “What will the Roman governor do?” Pilate and Herod seem to be talking once again. Jesus may think that he is a Prince of Peace. But all hell may break loose — and very soon — right before the Passover.

Sometime around AD 33, King Jesus was crucified by Bible-believing, family-values moral conservatives. But he was also crucified by secular, liberal, well-connected elites. And executed by the deep state of imperial colluders. To understand how the Gospel of God’s Kingdom is above and beyond the world’s politics, I invite you to listen to “
The Gospel According to Caiaphas.”

From @IntlBuzz