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Jesus participated in a huge rally against the government of his day when the people wanted to make him king. Here it is: "After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you" (Luke 19:28-44). The people wanted to make him king to drive out the Roman oppressors and right the injustice in their lives, but the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him because he threatened their power and authority. Jesus came to Jerusalem to fulfil his Father's will and die an innocent man (a gross injustice) to pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus took violent action to correct grave unrighteousness in the temple. Here it is: "Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night" (Matthew 21:12-17). In the nation of Israel, the political and religious leaders were the same people. Jesus reserved his harshest criticisms for these leaders. His indictments against them are known in the scriptures as "The Seven Woes". We can read about them all in Matthew 23:13-39. He accused them of being hypocrites and blind guides. They were neglecting the important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. Instead they were full of greed and self-indulgence. Jesus has commissioned us Christians to advance the kingdom of God, the foundation of which is justice, righteousness, love and faithfulness (Psalm 89:14). That's what we fight for and the weapons we use have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Every day we face a battle between good and evil, in our own lives and our countries. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the prayer of righteous people, and the word of our testimony will win.
The Bible is very clear that Christians should not be involved in political riots or sedition attempts against the government. In the US, as well as many other democratic countries, Christians can voice their disapproval in a peaceful manner; by petitioning the government and voting. Violent protests and attempts to topple the government by force is never advocated or endorsed by the Bible. Paul makes it abundantly clear that Christians should not participate in riots, revolts, or uprisings: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom 13: 1-7). In Paul’s time, the Roman government had little tolerance for political protest and brutally put down all forms of dissent. Paul didn’t want Christ-followers to be associated with these activities or subject to such punishment. Peter is also unambiguous about how Christians should behave: “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 2:13-17). Both Paul and Peter were persecuted and in the end executed by the Roman authorities. During His time on Earth, the crowd wanted to make Jesus king, hoping that He would overthrow the Roman occupiers and set up His kingdom – Jesus always refused (John 6:15). In Luke 23:16-19 we read that Christ’s carried the cross meant for Barabbas, a notorious criminal guilty of insurrection. When arrested, Jesus told Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews (John 18:36, 37). In all matters, political or otherwise, Christians should follow Paul's advice: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom 12:18).
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