Faith Chapel

The Politics Of Jesus

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Mike Leno


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000046

00:30 One of the most important books ever written
00:33 on the subject of politics
00:35 was actually written a long time ago
00:38 in fact it was written in the early 1500's
00:42 by an Italian by the name of Niccolo Machiavelli
00:46 now Machiavelli became famous
00:49 for writing a book called: The Prince
00:52 and in that book he describes
00:55 the politically expedient ways that a prince or
00:59 a king should use in order to stay in power
01:04 Now Machiavelli is controversial even today
01:09 in the way he wrote
01:11 because so many of his ideas make such a good sense,
01:15 I should say they are so practical and that they work
01:18 but at the same time they are rather repugnant
01:22 especially to people who believe
01:25 that a person ought to do the right thing
01:28 no matter what it costs because you see
01:30 Niccolo Machiavelli believed that a prince or a king
01:35 a monarch or anybody else in power
01:38 should do whatever it took
01:41 the ends justify the means.
01:44 For example, he said if you're going to kill people
01:48 which he believed that a prince had to do
01:52 in order to stay in power,
01:54 he said you should do all the severities, all at ones
01:59 and then door? out the benefits and the rewards
02:02 over a long period of time
02:04 he said the reason for that is
02:05 a person will forget about the father that you just killed
02:10 but they will never forget it
02:12 if you confiscate their inheritance, their property.
02:15 Machiavelli said
02:19 overwriting principle of staying in power
02:26 is not the truth, you can bend the truth however you need to
02:30 it's to appear truthful, it's to appear generous to your subjects
02:37 though, Machiavelli's work
02:43 has had a number of interesting applications
02:45 I even found a book for sale recently
02:48 called "What would Machiavelli do"
02:50 written by Stanley Bing?, a columnist for 'Fortune' magazine
02:55 I understand that that's not even his true name
02:58 In his real life he has another name. He works for media company
03:04 but in any case Stanley Bing has written a book called
03:07 "What would Machiavelli do"
03:09 a sort of a satire on the techniques of staying in power
03:12 in the corporate world.
03:14 For example he says the overwriting lesson is to
03:17 always love yourself, never apologize for anything you do
03:21 and when all odds fails
03:22 recognize that the truth is flexible
03:25 so it can be bent any way you want.
03:28 Application: firing people, killing people,
03:32 same rules, different game. So he says.
03:36 What was the politics of Jesus?
03:40 Even long before Machiavelli came on the scene
03:46 people were using his methods.
03:48 Let's follow Jesus about the week before his death
03:55 and let's ask the question: what are the politics of Jesus?
03:59 He was on Friday, just six days before the Passover
04:05 there was a grand feast at Simon's house.
04:09 Now Simon lived in the little town of Bethany
04:12 which was just a little ways away from Jerusalem
04:15 it was a favorite stopping place
04:17 for Jesus and his disciples
04:19 because he could visit with Lazarus and his two sisters
04:21 Maria and Martha.
04:22 Lazarus of course, had been raised from the dead.
04:26 Simon had been cured of leprosy.
04:30 Simon wanted to throw a big party in Jesus honor
04:34 and what better way to do and what better way of
04:37 showing yourself prominently in the neighborhood
04:40 than having some very important guests sitting at your table
04:43 and so he invited Lazarus. I mean how could you do better
04:46 than that! Have a person who'd been resurrected from the dead
04:50 Why that would put your party on the social counter of the day
04:54 Of course all the disciples were there
04:57 Simon was a Pharisee
04:59 so he undoubtedly invited some of his Pharisee friends
05:02 Maybe they weren't at the party
05:07 but in town on that Friday settling in for the weekend
05:12 were a great number of other people from the surrounding area
05:16 You see, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem
05:20 to attend the Passover feast
05:22 and the crowds of people who would also go to Jerusalem
05:28 to celebrate the Passover realized that this would be
05:33 a wonderful chance to see Jesus.
05:36 and when they found out that he was stopping in Bethany
05:39 they also stopped in Bethany.
05:40 So that, by some chance they could run into him and see him
05:45 and hear him speak
05:46 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem
05:50 so, they could easily attend the Passover
05:53 even while staying in Bethany.
05:55 and the stage was then set for the most important week
06:00 in earth history
06:01 Out of the entire life of Christ
06:04 only the last three years were recorded in any detail
06:07 of those three years of his ministry, the
06:10 Bible gives more attention to the last week of his life
06:13 than to any other period of time.
06:15 At that feast at Simon's house, you remembered what happened.
06:21 You remember Mary, the woman who had been led in the sin
06:27 had saved up her life's savings
06:30 and then spent it to purchase an alabaster box
06:34 full of the most expensive perfume
06:36 as a gift for her savior
06:38 and during that party she had snuck in unnoticed at first
06:43 and broke open her alabaster box spilling its aromatic contents
06:47 all over Jesus' feet and then
06:49 realizing that she was the center of unwanted attention
06:52 she started weeping and wiping Jesus' feet with her hair
06:55 You may also remember that
06:58 there were two very negative reactions, one by Simon
07:01 and one by Judas
07:02 Judas said 'Why? This was too expensive!
07:06 The money should have been given to the poor
07:09 instead of spend it on such an extravagant gift!'
07:12 Even today we use that argument
07:15 in our pomposity, in our superiority if we see
07:19 money being spent in a way we don't like it spent.
07:22 We say something like: '
07:24 Well, you know, it should have been spent to feed the poor!
07:28 How can we expend such extravagance
07:30 but you know, Jesus didn't reprove this woman. In fact
07:33 he said:' Whoever the Gospel and whenever the Gospel is told
07:37 the story of this woman will be told in her honor.'
07:40 The other negative reaction of course was from Simon
07:43 Let's go to the background where Simon go!
07:47 Simon had come down of leprosy one time
07:50 and if you read between the lines you wonder
07:56 in fact you strongly suspect that Simon had been the one
08:00 to lead Mary in the sin.
08:02 therefore his leprosy was naturally looked upon
08:05 by the town's folks as the judgment of God
08:08 but one day when Jesus came to Bethany
08:10 He saw Simon outside of Bethany
08:12 crying:' Unclean' as the leprous were supposed to do
08:16 and he healed Simon of his leprosy.
08:20 one more thing about Simon
08:24 he was probably Mary's uncle
08:28 and so Simon knew Mary
08:33 and when he saw Mary break open that alabaster box
08:38 and saw the way she caressed his feet with her hair
08:42 he thought in his heart: 'If this is a true prophet
08:46 if Jesus is really who he says he is
08:49 he would not allow a woman to touch him in that way
08:52 certainly not this kind of woman!'
08:53 but Jesus read his heart too
08:56 and so he told a little parable
08:58 about people that had been forgiven
09:00 one had been forgiven a lot
09:01 and the other had been forgiven for a minor offence
09:04 and then he asks Simon
09:06 'Which of these would love the forgiver more?'
09:09 Simon says:' It's easy; the person who had been forgiven the
09:13 most' and Jesus praised Mary for her gift
09:17 because she after all realized how much she had been forgiven
09:22 if Simon got the point of the parable and we hope he did
09:25 he also had to realize how much he had been forgiven
09:28 Christ could have laid open
09:30 the secrets of his life before everyone
09:34 but Jesus is not that kind of person!
09:38 he didn't take advantage of his knowledge of Simon's life.
09:43 Well, Judas was so insulted by Jesus' comments!
09:51 The Bible says that he went to the chief priests and rulers
09:56 to plot with them to turn Jesus over to them.
10:00 And so by Sunday Morning the stage was set
10:04 for one of the most important confrontations in history.
10:11 the confrontation between the kingdom of evil
10:15 and the kingdom of Christ
10:17 Remember as we go through these moments with Jesus
10:24 these last few days of his life, let's ask the question
10:28 what kind of politics did Jesus have?
10:30 The Pharisees represented: good old Machiavellian politics
10:37 any means to the end desired
10:40 1500 years before Niccolo Machiavelli ever wrote
10:44 they exemplified his philosophy.
10:47 It's interesting that Jesus knew what was ahead
10:53 before they ever got to Bethany
10:56 Jesus had told his disciples exactly what would happen
10:59 He said:
11:00 ' This is going to fulfill what the prophets
11:02 wrote about the Son of man
11:03 He's going to be sent over to the gentiles
11:05 He's going to be mocked, insulted, spit on and flogged
11:09 and finally killed
11:11 and on the third day He would rise again
11:13 Jesus knew what was going to happen
11:15 and He tried to tell His disciples.
11:17 Of course they couldn't get it
11:18 And so, on that Sunday morning Jesus left Bethany
11:23 to head out for Jerusalem
11:26 But first he sent his disciples after a young colt,
11:29 a young donkey
11:30 He instructed them to go to Bethfage
11:33 which was a town very close to Jerusalem
11:36 find a young colt? there that was tied up
11:40 bring it back to him and He would ride it into Jerusalem
11:42 He got on the colt
11:45 now pictures this
11:48 as Jesus is riding the colt towards Jerusalem
11:53 there are two long streams of people coming out to meet him
11:58 one stream of course is behind him, coming out of Bethany
12:02 as people realize that Jesus is now leaving
12:05 He's heading for Jerusalem
12:06 they pack up their bags and they head out of Bethany
12:11 towards Jerusalem, behind Jesus.
12:13 They want to be with Him, they want to follow Him
12:15 They want to see what's going to happen.
12:17 People sensed that this was going to be a confrontation
12:20 of proportions they haven't even imagined them
12:23 the other stream of people was coming from Jerusalem
12:28 and was coming out to meet Jesus
12:31 as Jesus got closer to Jerusalem
12:35 people were singing his praises
12:38 they were yelling their Hosannas, their Hallelujahs
12:42 people were waving the palm branches
12:45 beside him and ahead of him,
12:47 they were laying their coats down in the pathway
12:49 ahead of him and the colt would carry Jesus
12:53 across those coats and those cloaks
12:55 and those blankets all the way to Jerusalem.
12:59 as He came to the top of the mount Olives
13:02 the entire holy city came into view.
13:08 with the sun behind them they could probably see
13:12 the golden dome of the temple illuminated as a beacon.
13:19 and Jesus took one look at the temple
13:22 and he started weeping.
13:24 Luke 19 says that Jesus wept, in sight of the holy city.
13:33 Why did he weep?
13:35 He wept because He realized he had the only answer
13:39 for his people and He yearned to save his people.
13:42 but He saw the impending disaster
13:46 There is a ninth century tradition
13:49 that says that when Jesus got to Jerusalem
13:51 He entered the city from the East through the golden gate
13:55 that leads to the temple
13:56 as that colt carried Him up towards that gate
14:05 those who came out from Jerusalem
14:07 including many of the Pharisees and teachers of the law
14:11 the opponents, the enemies of Christ
14:13 and as they heard the commotion, as they heard the praises
14:16 and the Hosannas, they said:' Jesus,
14:18 won't you make your disciples be quiet?
14:20 Jesus said:' If they are quiet,
14:23 the stones themselves would have to cry out'
14:26 He entered the gate of the city
14:31 He went to the temple
14:34 and then according to Mark
14:37 Jesus went back to Bethany for the night
14:40 Probably He went back to Bethany every night
14:44 during that last week of His life except of course that
14:47 faithful night when they celebrated the Passover
14:50 in the upper room.
14:52 Now let's review what just happened
14:56 the triumphal entry was so grand
15:00 and the Bible records in a good amount of detail
15:04 what Jesus did as He left Bethany
15:07 and stopped on top of mount Olives
15:10 and rode down into Jerusalem.
15:13 encountered the Pharisees and the priests and the rulers.
15:17 But it's also interesting to notice what Jesus didn't do!
15:20 First of all Jesus had to know
15:24 that Judas and the authorities were plotting to kill him.
15:28 and yet he didn't strategize
15:31 to give Himself an advantage over His enemies
15:34 He could have exposed Simon and Judas on the spot
15:37 and even if he didn't expose them on the spot
15:40 He could have exposed their plan later
15:42 when it best suited His advantage
15:44 but you see,
15:47 Judas and the Pharisees
15:49 never did understand Jesus kind of politics
15:51 For them, it was all a power game
15:54 stay in control in order to have power
15:56 if you don't have position and power than
15:58 it doesn't matter how good you are
15:59 you loose
16:01 that's the Machiavellian way
16:03 earlier that year
16:08 the Bible records that a high priest had prophesied
16:11 that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation.
16:13 now, this is fascinating because this is
16:15 one of the enemies of Christ
16:17 and yet he had prophesied that Jesus would die
16:20 for the nation of Israel
16:21 but this is the way he said it
16:23 it's expedient that one should die
16:26 for the people
16:29 they needed Jesus to loose
16:34 in order for them to win
16:38 it was a win-loose philosophy
16:42 they expected everyone to think that way
16:44 and so they couldn't understand Jesus way
16:46 you see, He was willing to die that others might live
16:51 He taught that the first would be last
16:54 and the last would be first
16:56 but the Machiavellian politicians of the day
17:00 they were willing for another to die
17:04 so that they could live
17:06 Jesus was willing to die Himself
17:09 so that others could live
17:11 the second thing that Jesus didn't do
17:14 is that He didn't form any political alliances with anybody
17:18 in order to establish His Kingdom
17:19 He had the perfect opportunity after the triumphal entry
17:22 why couldn't Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem
17:25 on that high day
17:27 He knew He was popular, He knew He had the mandate of the people
17:31 why couldn't He have reached out to those who were in power
17:36 established His kingdom
17:38 converted the nation
17:40 would have been better?
17:42 the Pharisees were intimidated
17:47 we notice in John 12:17-19
17:51 'Now the crowd that was with him
17:55 when He called Lazarus from the tomb
17:57 and raised him from the dead
17:58 continued to spread the word
17:59 Many people, because they had heard that
18:02 hHe had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him.
18:05 this is those two groups of people that we are talking about
18:08 the one from Bethany
18:09 and now the ones coming out to meet Him from Jerusalem
18:12 verse 19:"So the Pharisees said to one another
18:15 'See, this is getting us nowhere
18:18 Look how the whole world has gone after Him!' "
18:22 The Pharisees realized they had lost!
18:27 They figured the game was up
18:29 all of their strategies in the backrooms
18:32 all of their secret maneuverings
18:34 even with Judas paying him off a bribe
18:36 to deliver Jesus hadn't worked
18:38 Jesus now had a mandate of the people
18:42 He was so popular
18:44 they knew they could never break His power
18:46 if he keep going the way He was
18:49 but Jesus, even when He had the perfect opportunity
18:55 did not form political alliances
18:58 instead His followers were the poor
19:00 the common people, the lame, the blind and the children
19:03 not the rich and powerful
19:05 to get another glimpse to Jesus' attitude towards politics
19:09 we ca turn to Luke 13:31
19:12 " At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him
19:18 'Leave this place and go somewhere else.
19:20 Herod wants to kill you'
19:22 in verse 32 Jesus replied: " Go tell that fox
19:25 ' I will drive out demons and heal people today
19:29 and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal'
19:33 In any case ( he says in verse 33) I must keep going today
19:37 and tomorrow and the next day for surely no prophet
19:41 can die outside Jerusalem!"
19:43 even in the face of certain death
19:47 Jesus was not going to play politics
19:50 not with Herod, that fox as he calls Him
19:53 not with anybody else
19:55 of course the Pharisees themselves
19:57 were probably playing their own little political game
19:59 trying to intimidate Jesus
20:00 by throwing Herod's name at Him
20:03 Jesus was not intimidated by kings or by death.
20:07 Jesus had an authority
20:12 that was beyond all notions of earthly power
20:18 as He exercised this authority
20:21 it was the weak, it was the poor
20:25 it was the crippled and the the lame, the blind
20:29 who responded to Him. Why?
20:31 because they realized their need
20:33 they knew that they needed what Jesus had
20:36 it was the rich, it was the powerful
20:39 it was the self-sufficient, it was the politically expedient
20:44 the politically wise and powerful that didn't need Jesus
20:48 and Jesus would not play games with them
20:51 What is the difference between power and authority?
20:55 Have you ever thought about that?
20:57 power is the ability to make others do your will
21:04 whether they want to or not
21:05 authority, on the other hand is the ability to influence others
21:12 because they recognize that what you say is legitimate and right
21:18 authority means you have credibility
21:21 and the ability to influence action
21:23 because of that credibility
21:25 Jesus had all the power in the universe that at his disposal
21:31 He was after all the Son of God
21:33 but He chose to have authority rather than earthly power
21:37 that is in fact what one of His temptations is all about
21:42 when Satan took Him to a high mountain and said
21:44 "I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth
21:45 just bow down to me"
21:47 but Jesus refused to make political compromises
21:51 with the rulers and the Pharisees
21:54 or with the devil
21:56 you see,Jesus'kingdom is the kingdom of the heart
22:01 He told the people:" The kingdom of God is within you"
22:04 it's not a political power
22:06 the politics of Jesus is all about influence
22:10 not coercion or power
22:12 the result of that influence in our lives
22:15 is called conversion.
22:18 the heart can not be forced
22:21 it can only be won
22:24 and that is the key to Jesus' politics
22:28 the next day was Monday
22:31 four days before the Passover
22:33 Jesus again leaves Bethany an returns to Jerusalem
22:37 on the way He did a very strange thing
22:39 He cursed a fig tree
22:40 Why did He curse the fig tree?
22:42 the fig tree was supposed to have fruit but it didn't
22:47 Jesus went to get a snack on the way to Jerusalem
22:51 and expecting to find figs
22:53 He found a perfectly healthy fig tree but no figs
22:56 and He cursed it
22:57 and it died later
22:59 what He was doing was acting out a parable
23:06 People who are supposed to have the fruit of righteousness
23:10 and don't were like this fig tree
23:12 and that's up the stage for His entrance
23:17 His second entrance into the temple
23:22 let's turn to Mark 11:15-19
23:27 Mark 11 talks about Jesus' second visit to the temple
23:41 and beginning with verse 15
23:44 it says:" On reaching Jerusalem
23:47 Jesus entered the temple area
23:49 and began driving out those who were buying and selling there.
23:53 He overturned the tables of the money changers
23:55 and the benches of those selling doves,
23:57 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise
24:00 through the temple courts
24:02 And as He taught them He said
24:03 'Is it not written 'My house will be called a house of prayer
24:08 for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers''
24:12 the chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this
24:16 and began looking for a way to kill Him
24:17 for they feared Him,
24:19 because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching.
24:22 When evening came
24:26 they went out of the city."
24:28 Once again we have a picture of Jesus exercising authority.
24:35 Now there is a little physical power going on here too
24:38 after all He tipped those tables over Himself,
24:41 He drove the animals out
24:43 but why did He do that?
24:45 was He in fact trying to establish His kingdom
24:50 finally by the exercise of physical power and position
24:54 No! not at all!
24:56 In fact He would willingly end his career and His life
25:00 for the sake of the truth
25:02 Rather than protect the temple
25:04 and make it richer and more prosperous
25:07 He ended the profit making system
25:10 and gave away the benefits to all nations.
25:13 Human politics, especially Machiavellian politics
25:18 is usually, I should say always self-serving
25:22 and self protecting.
25:24 and yet Jesus said: "My house should be house of prayer
25:29 for all nations."
25:30 Cleaning the temple was not Jesus way of taking over
25:35 Had He wanted to He could have
25:37 in fact as the priests and the rulers
25:39 ventured back into the temple
25:40 they expected to see Jesus setting up His Kingdom
25:46 This was His big chance
25:48 and instead they found the sick healed
25:53 the blind restored to sight, the deaf receiving their hearing
25:56 and the crippled leaping for joy
25:59 this was the essence of Jesus kingdom
26:02 His actions were incomprehensible to the
26:05 priests and rulers. why?
26:06 because they knew of only
26:07 one way of acting- Machiavellian self-interest
26:12 as we look at Jesus who He was and what He did
26:16 we realized how corrupt our bodies often are
26:21 our self-protectionism, our pride, our ambition
26:26 fade into nothingness as we look at Christ
26:30 He leads us to glory
26:33 by the road of suffering
26:37 that's not the Machiavellian way
26:39 it's not the road of popularity
26:42 it's not the road of worldly success
26:44 it's not the road of power
26:47 it is however the way of hope
26:50 of peace and of love
26:51 this is the politics of Jesus
26:54 He called Himself the way, the truth and the life
26:58 the way of Jesus makes no sense
27:01 unless you know Jesus
27:03 who is this Jesus?
27:06 Is the Son of God
27:09 His disciples declared:" This is Jesus, the Messiah
27:14 the prince of life, the redeemer of the world "
27:18 and even the prince of the powers of darkness
27:23 Satan himself had to admit
27:25 and acknowledge Him saying
27:27 " I know thee who thou art, the holy One of God "
27:32 The politics of Jesus is not about grasping for power
27:37 the politics of Jesus
27:39 is about influence, the authority of Christ
27:42 to win our hearts to Him
27:43 and giving the benefits of the kingdom
27:46 to everyone, to all nations
27:49 Who do you say Jesus is?
27:51 Is He your savior?
27:53 Will you accept His promise of salvation today?


Revised 2014-12-17