Today is Election Day.
It’s the most contentious election I can remember in my lifetime. And while many of us have likely already voted. I wanted to give us a couple of scriptural anchors that could guide us through what I expect to be an interesting month of reaction in our nation.
There’s a story in John 11 where Jesus raises a man named Lazarus from the dead. What is remarkable about that story is Lazarus was dead for a long time. They had the funeral and buried him. And then Jesus comes to town and famously says “Lazarus come out.” And he walks out of the tomb still wearing his grave clothes.
It was one of the most potent and incredible miracles in the entire Bible.
And of course, a lot of people were impressed.
And of course, the Pharisees were not.
Their reaction was fascinating:
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
John 11 – NIV
It is positively stunning that even in the face of such a miracle they would respond this way. But we don’t have to guess why. The author (John) tells us. They were filled with fear about their temple and their nation.
They were so fearful about what would happen to their nation that they totally missed one of the most incredible demonstrations of God’s Kingdom that has ever been seen.
As believers in Jesus and Kingdom people, we need to guard against this sort of fear in our lives.
I don’t think I’m being too controversial when I say that both sides in this election have appealed to our fear. And I’ve heard both sides basically say, “if the other side wins, we will lose our nation.”
That is pharisee thinking.
I don’t know if you’ve gotten caught up in those appeals to fear. I know I have at times this year.
Our Savior would say to us, whatever happens on Tuesday: “Fear not.”
I think he would also encourage us to think about his words in Luke 17,
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
We all love this nation. It is one of the best earthly nations that has ever existed. But it is still an earthly nation.
And while this earthly nation chooses a president – we as believers already have a King.
And his Kingdom is coming on earth as it is in heaven, even when we don’t see it. Even when it is hard for us to observe, his Kingdom is still in our midst.
My biggest encouragement to all of us this month is to find our identity first and foremost in the Kingdom of God.
And when we do, we discover that whatever trajectory our country will take, none of these things will change Tuesday:
- You will still be the beloved of God.
- God will still have victory for you over the brokenness in your life.
- God’s Kingdom will still be advancing on earth.
- Our partnerships with other believers to do God’s work will still be thriving.
- The work of the church in the world will still be the best hope for lasting change in society.
- The poor will still need the good news of the gospel.
- The captive and the oppressed will still need to be free.
I could go on, but hopefully you are tracking with me…
I want to challenge us all. After the results are in… the job for us is still the same. To experience his grace in our lives and to extend that grace to others.
I don’t know what will happen, but whatever happens there is cause for joy and optimism about what God is doing in our city, in our country and in our world. The Kingdom will continue to be “in your midst.”
Let’s major in love and grace and even comfort in the face of fear this month.
Did you miss Season 7 of our Welcome to the Table podcast?
We talk about the four major shifts that need to take place in our thinking when we approach politics. You can listen to those episodes here!