Revolutionary Jesus – Brian Zahnd

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know, we all want to change the world

—The Beatles

The revolution of Christ is the radical alternative to the unimaginative politicism of the religious Right and Left.

Jesus is not apolitical. Far from it. Jesus is intensely
political! But Jesus has his own politics — and they cannot be made to
serve the interests of some other political agenda. As Eugene Peterson
says, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is more political than anyone
imagines, but in a way that no one guesses.”

The politics of Jesus are set forth in the Sermon on the Mount — and
neither the Republican nor the Democratic party have any intention of
seriously adopting those politics! They simply cannot. The politics of
the Sermon on the Mount are antithetical to the political interests of a
military and economic superpower. 

The problem with both the Christian Right and the Christian Left is
that they reduce “Christian” to the diminished role of religious
adjective in service to the all-important political noun. But as Karl
Barth taught us, God cannot serve some other interest, God can only
rule. …

Conventional politics is a contest to gain the use of coercive force.
But Jesus rejects this method. In the politics of Jesus the world will
be changed by non-coercive love or not at all. It’s not the task of the
church to change the world by legislative force. It’s the task of the
church to be the world changed by Christ. This is revolutionary in a way
that conventional politics never can be. …

The church doesn’t need to enforce this revolution, the church only
needs to live it. To those who will dare to adopt the politics of the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city
built upon a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14) 

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