The Political Claims of the Gospel
Here is an excerpt from the book “King Jesus Claims His Church”
The claims of the gospel are in fact political, or perhaps better described as counter-political:
1. The phrase "repent and believe" itself has political overtones. The first-century historian Josephus describes a fascinating story where he learns that a brigand chief is plotting to kill him. He tells this brigand to abandon his efforts and "repent and believe in me [Josephus]", or translated otherwise "repent and show loyalty to me." The underlying language is nearly identical to that which Jesus employs in Mark 1:15. Other political uses of "repent and believe" can be found in multiple sources from 100 BC-150 AD.
2. Jesus chose the term church (Greek: ekklesia) instead of synagogue (Greek: synagoge) for his followers. The term ekklesia was the common term used for the political gatherings of the Greco-Roman city-state. The word was also used in the Septuagint for the assemblies of national Israel. It is remarkable that He would select such a political term when the more familiar term of synagogue was more palatable and perhaps more natural given the Jewish womb from which Christianity sprang.
3. Jesus selected twelve apostles, an obvious reference to the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke22:30). His enemies correctly perceived the audacity of Jesus' numerical selection. Jesus was proclaiming in His deeds that He was assembling a political nation, a new Israel, around Himself.
4. Jesus' enemies asked His disciples if He taught that they should continue to pay taxes. These enemies understood that Jesus' followers might perceive themselves to be a rival nation.
5. The accusation brought to Pilate was, "Everyone who makes himself king opposes Caesar" (John 19:12 ESV). This opposition between Jesus and Caesar continues in the book of Acts: "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus" (Acts 17:6-7).
6."Jesus is Lord" was a politically subversive phrase because the slogan "Caesar is Lord" was already in circulation. An appropriate analogy might be for someone to say "Jesus is President" in the United States, despite another person holding that office.
7. The apostle Peter describes the early Christians as a "holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9) and as part of a "Dispersion" or Diaspora (1 Pet. 1:1), borrowing language used for national Israel.
8. James refers to Christians as the "twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (James 1:1), also a description in continuity with political Israel.
9. Paul urges believers to understand that their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). Also earlier in the letter, "Only live as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ." (Phil. 1:27).
10. Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah include that "the government will be on His shoulder" (Isa. 9:6) and that He will crush the kings of the earth (Ps. 2).
Kuruvilla, Finny (2013-08-19). King Jesus Claims His Church: A Kingdom Vision for the People of God (Kindle Locations 234-241). Anchor-Cross Publishing. Kindle Edition.
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