About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Did Jesus Die For?
Did Jesus die for Canada? Did He die for
America? Did He die for Great Britain? Did He die for the nation in
which you live? Who did Jesus
In answering these
questions I recall living in Richmond, Virginia, in the early 1980's.
After Pat Robertson
announced his intention to run for President of the United States
in the 1988 election I asked Ern Baxter, a prominent Bible teacher in the
Charismatic Movement, what he thought about Robertson's aspirations.
He told me that if Robertson became president he would be demoting
himself from being a preacher of the gospel. That,
along with further study of the lives of the first apostles, including
Paul, caused me to
rethink things through.
The Roman Empire
in which Paul lived was much more pagan, immoral, and corrupt,
than today's western culture. As
a Roman citizen Paul might have been able to fight his way to the top of
the political pile in the hope of converting the empire for Christ, but he
didn't, and neither did his contemporaries.
Constantine, some three centuries later, did that by Christianizing the
empire through legal means.
More than most realize, that disaster still negatively affects the
western church to this very day.
Paul embraced the
call of the Lord on his life to be a prophetic voice, a preacher of the
gospel, to individuals throughout the empire, and that probably included
Caesar Nero as some believe. You
might say that Paul entered the political arena as God said he would (Acts
9:15 - 16) but he did so, not as a politician, but as an imprisoned
preacher. I believe his
ultimate proclamation of the gospel was his execution.
His beheading accomplished more than any legislation he might have brought to the Roman
Paul knew his
commission. It was the same as
Jesus commissioned the original apostles.
He was to make disciples from all nations (Matthew 28:19) as he
proclaimed the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23).
For Paul, cleaning up culture meant cleaning up individuals in the
culture through the preaching of the gospel delivered to the lives of
individual people by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
You and I may not
be called to carry out the Great Commission in the way Paul was called,
but we have much to learn from him. For
example, we should spend less time complaining about our nations and more
time proclaiming the gospel to individuals in our nations. Why do I
say that? It's because Jesus
did not die for Canada. He died for Canadians.
He did not die for America. He died for Americans.
He did not die for your nation.
He died for individuals in your nation.
All of this puts the Conservative Christian Right, and political
movements like it, in their proper Biblical perspective.