Speaking Truth to Empires

I have been reading a lot of NT Wright lately (How God Became King and The Day the Revolution Began). There is a passage in HGBK that seems to speak to our role as Christians today when it comes to truth.

“The difference between the kingdoms is striking. Caesar’s kingdom (and all other kingdoms that originate in this world) make their way by fighting. But Jesus’s kingdom-God’s kingdom enacted through Jesus- makes its way with quite a different weapon, one that Pilate refuses to acknowledge: telling the truth:

“So! said Pilate. “You are a king, are you?”
“You’re the one who’s calling me a king,” replied Jesus. “I was born for this: I’ve come into the world for this: to give evidence about the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
“Truth!” said Pilate. “What’s that?” (John 18:37-38) (NT Wright, HGBK pg 144)

Certainly, we know that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life-” and it is Jesus who gives evidence to the truth of God’s love and grace for the world. Yet, in our world today truth is in such sort supply. We’ve watered down the truth; we’ve created alternate facts and fake news- all of which distract us from what is really true. That Jesus calls us to a way of living that is far different from the ways of the world.

How God Became King speaks of how empires and those in power have difficulty with the truth:

“The point about truth, and about Jesus and his followers bearing witness to it, is that truth is what happens when humans use words to reflect God’s wise ordering of the world and so shine light into its dark corners, bringing judgement and mercy where it is badly needed. Empires can’t cope with this. They make their own “truth,” creating “facts on the ground” in the depressingly normal way of violence and injustice.” (NT Wright, HGBK pg. 145)

Wright could have been writing after the 2016 Presidential election here in America, but speaks of the truth that Empires cannot handle the truth. As Christians, we are to pursue truth- not the truth of the Empire- but the truth of the King, the Living God. A reminder that as the Empire calls us to give our allegiance to the Empire and/or Emperor/Leader, that we are called to give our allegiance and our lives to another King and a different kingdom. As Christians, we are called to speak the truth by shining the light of Christ into the dark corners of the world- speaking out against falsehoods and speaking (and showing) mercy to the least of these.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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