Tom Gilson

Would Jesus Be a Good President?

Here’s a question that isn’t just hypothetical, it’s completely impossible — but it leads to fruitful reflections  anyway:

There’s never been a leader like Jesus — so would he be a good president?

No. Not at all.

Sure, some of us could want him in that job. How tired we are of the terribly flawed candidates we’ve got to choose from. How desperately we want a better leader — a leader who knows what he’s doing and (oh, please, dear God!) a leader we can trust! Jesus would certainly have the right “values.” He would know the right policies to pursue. He would know the most effective strategies. He could certainly solve big problems.

That’s Not What He Came For; It’s Not Who He Is

So it’s not that he wouldn’t be good as president of the United States. It’s that “President of the United States” is completely wrong for Jesus. It’s not what he came for. It’s not who he is. It may be the most powerful position in the world, but it’s nothing to Jesus Christ.

Human leaders seek to groom and prepare themselves to fit and fill the office they aspire to. Jesus doesn’t do that. He fits his offices to himself. He isn’t the elephant or the donkey, he is the Lion and the Lamb. He is the suffering servant, the “Lamb of God” (see esp. Isaiah 53) and the conquering king (the closing chapters of Revelation) — the “Lion of Judah.”

He taught and demonstrated humble, self-sacrificial love — the ethical way of the kingdom of God — to an unparalleled degree. He showed us how to live. He showed us how to die.

He showed us a foretaste, too, of his coming stance as conquering king. He ruled over the wind and the waves, over illness and demonic powers.  He spoke truth and only truth. He showed us death wasn’t the end.

He is king already, but the full extent of his kingship has not yet been made manifest. When it is, he will not be elected by popular or electoral vote, he will not negotiate for passage of his policies, his opinions will not be open to debate, and his decisions will not be subject to override. He will claim his kingship, and he will be our acknowledged sovereign in all ways.

When Jesus returns, he will not preside. He will rule.

That might sound onerous to some people who do not know how good he is. But indeed, he will rule in all the same goodness he displayed when he lived among us, taught us, and died for us.

His goodness includes ruling as the only truly wise and impartial judge over all the earth. Those who cry out to him for pardon for their rebellion, he will pardon; for as king and judge he will still be the same servant who walked humbly among us demonstrating God’s gracious, sacrificial love.

Those who do not cry out to him in that way he will rule as judge, meting out the permanent and eternal loss of the joy, freedom, and life they themselves chose not to receive from him, on his good terms.

Real Leadership for Real Change

We roll our eyes when we see campaign slogans, don’t we? We’re resigned to the reality that they’re never anything more than just words. With Jesus, though, “real leadership for real change” isn’t a campaign slogan, it’s a description of a coming reality. Against all attempts to stop him he will do what he came to do: actually bringing (for the first time ever) real leadership by a real king whose rule will bring about undeniably real change.

His only campaign now is to prepare us for it.

Jesus could solve the problems of our economy, our interpersonal alienation, our hunger and illness, our national security, and so much more. Be assured that he will do that in the long run. For him to jump straight to that agenda now through an earthly administration, though, would be to stepping away from the much more important problem he’s already solving: the death and coldness of the human heart.

He gives love. He gives life. He gives hope. He gives solutions even where no solution is in sight. He gives truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Would you vote for Jesus?

Don’t worry: he’s not asking for your vote. He’s not running for anything. You don’t get to vote for or against him. He rules regardless.

The better question is, will you assent to his rule? It won’t change his job, but it will make all the difference to you, now and throughout eternity.

If you want a good leader, no matter who America elects as president, follow Jesus.

Image Credit(s): PublicDomainPictures.net.

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