Not the Jesus of the Bible 27

Warning right up front: this post will probably be offensive to some. I’m just trying to take an honest approach and share my thoughts. They are by NO MEANS gospel. You have been warned.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the election. Who am I kidding? I think about politics all the time.

I’m especially concerned with what I perceive to be a lack of interest in politics in the church as a whole. Perhaps people are afraid to trample on the Separation of Church and State. Here’s a hint. It doesn’t exist, at least certainly not the way it’s used in today’s society.

And I quote…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

That’s it. Do you see anything about not putting up a nativity scene in the town square during Christmas? Or not being able to pray at a school baccalaureate service? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I’m so tired of people telling us what we can’t do when it comes to our freedom of religious expression. It simply doesn’t exist in the Constitution. PERIOD.

Ok, that tangent aside. I’ve started to think about our perception of Jesus, especially when it comes to political issues. I know this a sensitive subject people don’t like to talk about, but guess what? We need to talk about it. We need to take an objective look at Jesus and the inspired Word of God to see how they approach political issues.

  1. Jesus was pro tax. No, seriously, He was. Check out Mark 12:13-17.

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax[b] to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”   But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.

Certainly seems Jesus supported the paying of taxes, and this was during a time of extreme Roman oppression. I also LOVE that it was the religious leaders who were trying to trap Him, and He dropped a big ol’ Truth Bomb on them.

  1. The Bible supports hard work. There are countless examples of the importance of work, not being a sluggard, etc. throughout the Bible. One verse in particular stands out. Check out 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Hmmm…that doesn’t sound terribly pro hand out, now does it? At least not supportive of government hand outs. Paul makes it pretty clear. You work hard, or you don’t eat. I don’t see anywhere in that verse where it mentions food as a right.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for starving people, or anything insane like that, but there is something to be said for taking personal responsibility, working hard, and reaping the rewards of that hard work – no matter how big or small they might be.

  1. The government isn’t supposed to take care of the needy. The church is. Again, countless Scriptures to back this up, but check out Jesus’ own words in Matthew 25:34-45.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Jesus makes it clear that when we take care of the “least of these” we are in fact taking care of / doing good deeds toward Him. It’s on us, not the Federal government or some spending program. The church needs to be the hands and feet – meeting peoples’s basic needs and showing the love of Jesus in a tangible way.

Just going to throw this out there, if the church really stepped up in that area, we probably wouldn’t need the litany of government entitlement programs out there today.

So, there you have it. Again, this is my take on things, and I certainly might be wrong. But we need to take a hard look at Jesus and God’s Word as we make crucial decisions in this election year.



27 thoughts on “Not the Jesus of the Bible

  1. Reply LJ Hoose Feb 10,2012 6:18 pm

    BRAVO, Jared. LOVE this! Feel the same way, and I was even the recipient of some welfare checks, back in the day. I don’t think Jesus minds the government helping us when we truly need help, but I do think he is offended, yes, I said offended, when we run to Egypt for our security, safety and provision. Meeting that need is HIS purveiw, and not for senators and congressmen to do.

    I laughed out loud when you cited 30 Rock, ie: Truth Bombs. I’m not sure Jesus would have launched any of these in his day, but it tickled me that you included the mention of them in this post.

    Keep writing, keep praying and for goodness sake, investigate local government opportunities for yourself, already. We need more sanity in local government, and you seem to have it in abundance. Don’t put a bushel over that light–let it shine, shine, SHINE!

    • Reply Jared Feb 11,2012 3:38 am

      Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve seen 30 Rock, I honestly didn’t know it was a reference, but I can definitely see Liz and/or Jack saying that : )

      Your encouragement in my writing means a lot. It was definitely therapeutic for me today.

      Running for some sort of office is definitely tempting. Although I feel for now, perhaps I can do more in the court of public opinion through my writing. Who knows what the future holds, though.

      Barden 2016 : )

  2. Reply Joe T Feb 10,2012 6:22 pm

    I always enjoy a good political discussion! I find blogging a more effective medium to discuss that Facebook or twitter, but I agree with most of your points. The first point is the only objection I may have…I see what you’re saying, but I believe his comments on taxes have more to do with practicing submission or obedience to authority, than it does taxes? (not a big discrepancy)

    -My FAVORITE quote…”the government isn’t supposed to take care of the needy. The church is.” SOO true!

    Penn Jillette has an awesome quote about this topic in which he say’s that the government giving poor people money isn’t compassion, but compassion is you giving of yourself to help by your own will, not a gun point.

    Although, Penn is an atheist, I think he has it right on that…the church needs to find social solutions from within, rather than looking to the government for solutions. (the government is often the reason the problem exists…they can’t be the solution too.) 🙂 GREAT post Jared!

    • Reply Jared Feb 11,2012 3:42 am

      Joe, thanks for the input. Yeah, that’s probably the point Jesus was trying to make, but I think it’s cool that he totally put them in their place : )

      I think we see a balance in Jesus’ life and ministry, especially in this small example. Give Caesar what’s due to him, and give God what’s due to Him. Nothing was out of whack, so to speak.

      I think if the government has proved anything, it’s that they certain can’t handle finances well, so just get of our way, and let us step up.

      Granted, the church, as a whole has definitely dropped the ball in this area, most likely assuming that the government will step in, thus empowering the government even further, to the point where they think they can dictate what kind of health insurance we have, religious objections aside.

      Thanks again for the feedback. I love a good political discussion (obviously) myself : )

  3. Reply danielle Feb 10,2012 9:07 pm

    You know how I feel. And why I love you so. I can’t imagine being married to someone who has a different view than I do. Just can’t.

    As a welfare baby – I am a STRONG supporter of aid. Done the right way. When my dad graduated – he got a job – and got off welfare.

    I love this post and the perspective!

  4. Reply Jared Feb 11,2012 3:43 am

    Babe-uh, I love you. Thanks for encouraging me in my writing, and thanks for setting the example in honest, blunt blogging.

    You inspire me to be a better man!

  5. Reply Vicki eBerger Feb 11,2012 2:57 pm

    Right on. The point that you make so clearly is for me anyway, that the church has fallen short of helping those that truly need our help in practical ways. To my mind comes the verse, “…as you have done for the least of these…” !! What will we say when looking into His Eyes of love and compassion? I include myself in this challenge.

    The whole of what you said is truth. May it set us free.

    Keep up the good work. I can hear the Lord saying, “I like your story, good and faithful servant. In you I Am well pleased.”

  6. Reply zero1ghost May 30,2012 6:57 pm

    Found this page from Pastor Luke’s who has commented on your most recent post. I take extreme offense at “Certainly seems Jesus supported the paying of taxes, and this was during a time of extreme Roman oppression.” You missed the key element of this passage which is verse 17 “Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
    And they were amazed at him.”

    Why were they amazed? Cause Jesus trapped those who were trying to trap him. He is coming from the Jewish assumption that:
    -There is one God who owns the world
    -No one else can do this and definitely not a pagan ruler
    So what Jesus is actually saying is:
    -Give to God what is God’s (EVERYTHING)
    -And give to Cesar what is Cesar’s (Nothing)

    If the Pharisees try to argue against him they risk everything.
    -If they argue for, then they risk falling into the trap they were trying to set for Jesus, namely trying to get him to say “don’t pay your taxes”
    -But if they argue against him, then they don’t believe that God is sovereign and deserves our total devotion.

    Jesus also stated that you can’t serve to masters. There’s also the whole “rulers of this world” deal throughout John and the Kingdom of God which opposes those rulers.

    So Jesus is saying don’t pay your taxes to an oppressive and evil empire. And the early Christian church followed suit. Only around 300 when Constantine embraced Christianity did the church reverse on this issue.

    • Reply Jared May 30,2012 7:11 pm

      I’m confused. How is Jesus telling the disciples to pay the tax Him telling them not to pay taxes to an evil empire.

      Am I missing something?

  7. Reply zero1ghost May 30,2012 7:14 pm

    I don’t understand your question as it is awkwardly worded.

    Are you asking:
    -Jesus is telling his disciples to pay taxes, but to whom?
    -How is Jesus saying not to pay taxes to an evil empire?
    or some combination of the two?

  8. Reply zero1ghost May 30,2012 7:36 pm

    And what does Caesar own? Nothing as it is all God’s. Thus the only tax you should pay is your tithe.

    What purpose does the link to wiki supposed to serve? It lists out the various interpretations of the passage, nothing more. I have already outlined those.

  9. Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 1:31 pm

    Based on what? You have avoided my questions as well as Luke’s. You provided a wiki link that actually proves my interpretation (read the Tolstoy, mennonite, Gandhi, quaker, and anarchist posts). You can also read this with Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Peter Gnomes, Gail O’Day, and Greg Carey, all renowned NT Scholars.

    That being said, how can you support your position?

  10. Reply Jared May 31,2012 2:42 pm

    Based on the fact Jesus told them to pay the tax.

    Here’s another example of where Jesus instructed the disciples to pay a tax (this time the temple tax's_mouth).

    So he’s telling them to pay a tax, which is much different than a tithe.

  11. Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 2:50 pm

    Once again you fail to read the own article you present as support for your position. It in fact undermines your position. Please read the line “The four-drachma coin would be exactly enough to pay the temple tax for two people.” and then read my comment stating “And what does Caesar own? Nothing as it is all God’s. Thus the only tax you should pay is your tithe.”

    Jesus does state to pay taxes, but not to Rome; only to the temple. That’s the point. Not that hard nor complex and even the links you give support this. Maybe reading comprehension is not your strongest suit.

    • Reply Jared May 31,2012 2:59 pm

      Listen up, sir. There were 2 examples. Paying tax to Caesar and paying tax to the temple.

      A temple tax is not the same thing as a tithe. Temple tax was instituted by Moses, separate from tithe. Go ahead, look it up.

      I don’t care how many interpretations there are. Both times Jesus said pay the tax. Plain and simple.

      We can have a civilized debate, no need to question my reading skills.

  12. Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 3:38 pm

    “Listen up, sir. There were 2 examples. Paying tax to Caesar and paying tax to the temple.”
    -And Jesus says only to pay the temple in both instances. Please read what you blindly find on wiki. It might not say what you think it says.

    If this is a civilized debate, I expected one side to actually read what they post or to demonstrate that they have some working knowledge of the subject at hand. You have failed at each and I find myself wasting my time here. Good day.

    • Reply Jared May 31,2012 4:06 pm

      I have a working knowledge. I think your problem is that I don’t see it from your perspective.

      Jesus clearly told them to pay the tax. Both times. There’s no getting around that.

  13. Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 4:39 pm

    I have provided my reasoning. You have provided links that support my position. All you have provided is an unsupported assertion. An assertion I can’t trust because I question your reading comprehension. And since you provide no other scholars or viewpoints to back up your position, I thus can dismiss it. I state this in rebuke to you out of love (Eph 4:1-3 and 2 Timothy 3:16) for if you are to win others for Christ you best know how to support your beliefs and interpretations and you have failed miserably.

  14. Reply Jared May 31,2012 4:44 pm

    How is my interpretation wrong? Did Jesus not say pay the tax? Yes or no?

    • Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 7:22 pm

      No to the Roman tax, yes to the temple. Is it really that hard? And seriously, your source is That might be okay for a high school assignment but hardly scholarly. That does not go up against the Anchor Bible Commentary, the New Interpreter’s Bible, or Feasting on the Word, all of which I base my exegesis on.

      • Reply Jared May 31,2012 7:27 pm

        About was simply mentioning the verses. They paid the tax to Caesar. There’s no two ways around that.

        And temple taxes aren’t tithes, either.

        You can take your arguments somewhere else. I’ve spent enough time on them as it is.

        • Reply zero1ghost May 31,2012 7:45 pm

          Yes they did pay tax to Caesar and to the temple. Jesus stated you cannot serve to masters, astounded his detractors who were trying to trap him, and was patently against the Roman Empire. So to recap: Jesus was against paying taxes to the Roman Empire. Was for the temple tax and for tithing.

          • Reply Jared May 31,2012 7:50 pm

            Serving two master had nothing to do with Caesar. That was about serving God and money.

          • Reply zero1ghost Jun 1,2012 1:27 pm

            It has everything to do with the subject at hand, even your money must serve God. Caesar is a pagan who poses as a god and there is no God but YHWH. So why would Jesus be okay with paying taxes to a foreign, non-Jewish idolater?

Leave a Reply