“At that very hour, some Pharisees came to Jesus and told Him, ‘Leave this place and get away, because Herod wants to kill You.’ But Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look, I will keep driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach My goal.’” –Luke 13:31-32 (NIV)
Observation #1: Herod was a politician
Observation #2: Herod wanted to kill Jesus
Observation #3: Herod had the political clout to kill Jesus.
Observation #4: Jesus showed no signs of being intimidated by Herod (or any other politician).
Observation #5: Jesus showed no signs of being starstruck by Herod (or any other politician).
Observation #6: Jesus unabashedly referred to Herod by a term that clearly denotes a criticism of Herod’s character.
Observation #7: Jesus did not regard the criticism of politicians as an ungodly, disrespectful, ungrateful, entitled, or whiny act.
Observation #8: Jesus treated Herod’s agendas and threats as if they were irrelevant to his own purpose and power. Apart from treating the actions of politicians as mere pawns on his own chessboard, Jesus evinced none of the symptoms of those who obsess over every decision made by those with political clout.
This must have been very hard on Herod’s ego. After all, politicians are accustomed to being feared. When they walk into rooms, people begin to adjust their gaze and posture in all sorts of ways. In every age, people are taught to fear politicians.
It’s generally considered to be irresponsible and lazy for a person to speak of politicians as if their power is exaggerated, overrated, or merely secondary. You will hear people of every stripe telling you how important it is for you to treat politics with the utmost seriousness. You cannot make it through your life without hearing such an ideology being promulgated with great passion.
Jesus, on the other hand, was a great disappointment to many people of his day precisely because he refused to treat politics as if it was the starting point for igniting revolutions and creating social change.
In fact, when one famous politician interrogated him about his claim to authority, he referred to his kingdom as one that was “not of this world.” And yet, He was the furthest thing in the world from one who refused to do anything about the problems of oppression and injustice. He devoted every bit of his life to making the world a freer place, but he did so in a manner that was unconventional, non-obvious, counter-intuitive, and flat out frustrating in the eyes of those who saw political and military activism as the best way to approach such matters.
I long for the day when the followers of Christ become known for offending people by their refusal to be as inspired and intimidated by politicians as everyone else. I long for the day when the followers of Christ treat politics as Jesus saw it: as a delayed and reactionary indicator of the changes that are created and fought for in a higher realm of activism.