About Jesus Steve Sweetman
– Romans 13:1-7
apostle Paul's home town was in the Roman town of
can understand why Paul didn't head south.
The gospel had already been preached south of Antioch. Besides, after Paul
met Jesus he preached in the south until he wore out his welcome.
whatever direction Paul went, it was God's will.
Acts 12:4 says, "the two of them, (Paul and Barnabas) sent
on their way by the Holy Spirit went down to
Paul's travels he preached that Jesus, the Christ, was Lord over all
things in heaven and earth, which included the super state in which he
lived, that is, the Roman Empire. Paul's message was
politically and socially incorrect according to Roman law and culture.
There was no Lord in the Roman Empire
other than Caesar. He was
worshipped as being a god. So,
if Paul was to establish the fact that Jesus was the supreme authority
in the empire, it only makes sense that he had to take this message to
the center of the empire. He
had to go west from
13:1-7 has been debated for years. What
I've heard most from the debate is that Christians are to submit to the
"governing authorities". (verse 1)
The reason for this submission is more important than the
submission itself. We often
miss this point.
was arrested and "appealed to Caesar" to plead his case. (Acts
25:14) When he reached
Caesar's court he defended the gospel more than himself.
He was more intent on preaching the Lordship of Jesus than
defending his civil rights. We
should learn from that.
scholars believe the book of Romans, including chapter 13, was Paul's
legal defense before Caesar. Imagine
Paul standing before Caesar saying, "Christians are to submit to
your rule sir". Caesar
scratches his head and asks, "then why don't they?
I'm executing them on a daily basis for lack of submission".
Paul answers. "We
are to submit to you because 'there is no authority except that which
God has established'". (Romans 13:1) In
other words, Paul tells Caesar that he's not the top dog in the empire.
Caesar's authority has been established by God and therefore he
must submit his life and the empire to the God Paul serves.
Only then could Christians fully support Caesar. Romans 13:4 says that the governing authorities are "God's
servants". That puts
Paul and Caesar in the same social stratosphere. They're
both servants. Such talk was
treason. In today's words,
"Paul was a threat to national security".
headed west into the heartland of Roman civilization to tell Caesar that
he must submit himself and his empire to the rule of the Lord Jesus
Christ. This aspect of the
gospel message hasn't changed. Like
Paul, we must preach the Lordship of Jesus, not only to individuals, but
to our national leaders. It's
not politically or socially correct, but this has always been the gospel
mandate. Of course, this
message didn't go over well in Paul's day, and won't go over well in our
day either. The nations of
the world have always been at odds with Jesus and always will be.
Still, national leaders must be warned of the
consequences of not submitting to Jesus.
yourself in the Oval Office at the White House.
"Good day Mr. President.
It's a pleasure to meet you.
I'm a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. … No sir, that's not a
new denomination. … I'm a Christian.
… You're a
Christian too? Good!
Then you'll concur with the apostle Paul's admonition to
governing authorities like you. … O, you take issue with Paul on
certain things? I heard
about that. … Anyway,
Christians across this nation would like to support you more than they
do, but there's just one problem. … No
sir, it's not Obama-care. Despite
the common consensus that the American electorate voted you into power,
Paul, in Romans 13, says that your presidency has been established by
Jesus. … No sir, that doesn't exactly validate your presidency.
It means you're obligated to serve Jesus by handing your life and
the nation over to Him. In
all good conscience Mr. President, we can't fully support you until you
fully support Jesus. … No
sir, this has nothing to do with going to church.
P p p par pardon me sir". Your conversation abruptly ends.
President Obama picks up his phone.
Your whisked away by a couple of security guards to the nearest
psychiatric hospital. A CIA
agent deems you to be a wacko and a threat to national security. No
more airplane flights for you. You're
on that dreaded no fly list.
in the psychiatric hospital you wonder why Christians thought the gospel
was just about getting their sins forgiven and going to heaven.
The basis of the gospel is that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
(Acts 2:26) As Christ, He's
our Saviour. As Lord, He's
the supreme authority over all things, including our nations and our
leaders. This gospel was
never intended to be preached only to individuals to get them to heaven.
It was also meant to be preached to the nations of this world and
their leaders, just as Paul preached it.
That's why Paul went west to
age won't end until this gospel of the Kingdom is preached to all
nations. (Matthew 24:14) Just
as Paul obeyed the call of God to preach to Caesar, prophets of God
today are beginning to hear the same call.
The Lordship of Jesus will be preached to the nations, and then
the end will come.