Sermon Notes – March 18, 2018

The End of Politics – Mark 10:43-44

   The Beginning of Politics[1] is an excellent book about power in First and Second Samuel. When we arrive at the timeframe of Samuel the period of Moses and Joshua is long gone.  The period of the Judges (occasional mini saviors such as Deborah, Gideon, Samson) is drawing to a close with the ministry of the prophet/judge Samuel.  Samuel is offended because the people of Israel ask, “Appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5) 

   When Samuel complained to God, God told him, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” (8:7) This, for the people of God, was the beginning of politics when “God the king was being popularly dethroned.”[2]  Then came the time of the kings of Israel and Judah—some were good kings and some were bad kings and some were in between kings, but none of them would be as great, as gracious, as powerful a king as God.    

   Even though there are built in drawbacks (if not downright punishments) with having earthly political leaders [1 Samuel 8:11-18], we are still required by God (fourth commandment in the broadest sense) to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by Him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” (1 Peter 2:13-14)  So we pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:2)

   In this way we keep a proper perspective (especially in a representational democracy where each citizen is vested with some power) on Who ultimately is in charge and in Whom to place our trust ultimately for both temporal and eternal blessings.  “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:9)

   Our Gospel for today (Mark 10:35-45) points to the end of politics.  James and John are looking to be high placed in whatever they were envisioning to be Christ’s glorious kingdom.  The other ten apostles became indignant at this power grab.   Jesus calls all of them into a huddle and reminds them that the Gentile rulers always lord it over others.  But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  Say what!?  What kind of counter-intuitive, crazy talk is that?  It was wacky nonsense in the first century and it remains wacky nonsense in the twenty-first century as the evolutionary “survival of the fittest” mindset is taking our culture captive.  

   It couldn’t possibly work—and yet, because of Jesus, it does!  Psalm 146:3 states, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”  Jesus, however, says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)  He ransoms us from captivity to the survival of the fittest mindset.  He ransoms us from the clutches of Satan and evil.  He ransoms us from sin and guilt and shame.  He ransoms us from death and damnation.  In Him there is eternal salvation! 

   Our Old Testament Reading (Jeremiah 31:31-34) prophesied the days of a new covenant when God would be the King again.  “I will be their God, and they shall be my people…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 

   So Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Thy kingdom come,” His kingdom of great, gracious power.  So Paul chastised the “enemies of the cross of Christ” whose “god is their belly,” who “glory in their shame,” and who “set their minds on earthly things.”  In contrast, he writes, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:18-20)  So, in Revelation, when the seventh angel blew his trumpet the loud voices of heaven declared, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” (11:15)

   The end of politics for the people of God is when Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, “became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:9) 

[1] Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes, Princeton University Press, ©2017.

[2] Ibid., page 9.


© 2018 St Johns Evangelical Elgin
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community