Jesus as a Political Figure

If someone grows up with christianity they will have this view of Christ as a savior. The church portrays Jesus as an apolitical, aloof, and humanitarian type leader. In this depiction, though, we lose sight, as Marshall explains, of the actual historical context. The political climate of the time period is dismissed and the Jesus is held above it all and taken away from one his most direct cultural impacts.

Ironic though that as we see the church ignore and push aside Christ’s political effects they simultaneously take up the name of Jesus to achieve many political things. The church used the name of christ and the threat of eternal damnation to move armies and raise tremendous amounts of money. The church also used this same tactic to oppress millions and take advantage of the ignorant, illiterate, and the poor. Christianity ended up shifting the life of Jesus for it’s own political purposes while also holding him up as this apolitical figure.

jesus-our-president

Marshall, in A Prophet of God’s Justice: Reclaiming the Political Jesus, examines Jesus’s life and helps bring to light how political of a figure jesus actually was. If Christ had never presented a political threat to Rome he would have never been crucified, a death penalty put upon only the more threatening people of the day. Christianity would have also never sparked the same kind of cultural revolution if Jesus had not been political. And, the Roman Empire even eventually adopted Christianity as their nation’s religion because the people demanded it.

Viewing Jesus as an influential leader in this way is certainly valid, but it’s also disarming after being raised in a religion that tries not to acknowledge Christ in this obvious historical perspective.

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