Christian Politics 9

No kingdom works very well if the citizenry thinks they know better than the ruling king.  The cross of Calvary is the epitome of this.  The Pharisees and scribes thought they knew better than Jesus (Jn. 7:15, 26).

The question as to who possessed divine authority…the ruling religious elite in Jerusalem…or the miracle working Jesus of Nazareth…ultimately hinged upon who possessed the higher social status according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

But during the time of the ministry of Jesus Christ…even people who had Isaiah 53 memorized word-for-word…did not see the cross of Calvary coming.

Jesus can command loyalty and obedience from the people of faith He enlists into journeys of faith…because as the King of heaven He gives Himself sacrificially as the Passover Lamb for us at Calvary.

When this is combined with the displacement of our ways with God’s ways in a journey of faith…this is too much to expect in a humanly invented fiction…if God is actually not at home according to atheism and religious skepticism.

When we look at the Bible through the self-centered lens of the expectations and aspirations of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…of what is in it for us…of what belief in God can do for us…we will miss the displacement component altogether of God’s ways removing our ways…as evidence of the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

But if we look at the Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ as sovereign King and Ruler of the realm…then everything challenging and difficult in the called-out people of faith’s lives make perfect sense…because the scenario of events and the purpose behind each storyline changes 180 degrees into being about what we can do in service to the King…according to His plans and direction (Jn. 15:14-16).

The most radically unconventional thing in the entire universe is that when we are called-out into a God-composed journey of faith…we are called-out to serve a King…the King of Isaiah 9:6…Jesus Christ.

The reality of this in the biblical narrative stories of faith, and in the lives of tens and hundreds of millions of people from Abraham onward down through history…who have experienced a biblical quality walk of faith…is simply nonsensical if in fact God does not exist…if God is a fiction.

Christian Politics 8

What does all of this have to do with Jesus and politics?

In the Soviet Union during Stalin’s time in power, the ruling Communist Party could decide that PhD history professors in Moscow were more valuable manually digging ditches for new roads into the city…rather than teaching history in the university.

In a moment of arbitrary decision-making the political rulers in the Soviet Union system had the power to sweep away careers, dreams, and the investment of years of hard work and study…according to the whims of a few worldly powerful people having their own agenda.

In a godless, atheistic society like the Stalinist Soviet Union…autonomous, independent free-thinking does not have value.  If tyrannical despots in power in the Soviet Union possessed the authority to tell people what to do…they obeyed or they were sent off to labor camps in Siberia.

But in an atheistic worldview…what did it matter?  There is no god…and no meaning and purpose in life.  Material particles and energy are the extent of reality.  A fixed moral standard for right and wrong, good and evil…does not and cannot exist.

If material particles and subatomic energy have the inside scoop on what is right and wrong, good and evil…who or what endowed them with this capacity?

If this standard for judging good and evil is not a fixed standard…then it is relative…and therefore worthless as a standard.

The abuse of authority in the interests of personal benefit…at the expense of other people…is an attribute that resides within the broad range of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

The void of non-purpose and non-meaning inherent in the atheistic worldview of naturalism…or the meaninglessness of robotic human beings having free-thinking, independent moral reasoning thanks to material particles and subatomic energy alone…are both unsatisfactory explanations for rational reality.

Free-thinking does not belong to atheism…it belongs to God-composed journeys of faith where God displaces our ways with His higher and better ways…in tandem with our free-will choice.

Christian Politics 7

The question can be asked…what is more complex in terms of information content, quantity, and functional coherence…the issues introduced in the Christian apologetics debate on the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Bible…or the fine-tuning of the mathematical constants in physics and chemistry that support life in our universe that is one of several key evidences that argue for intelligent design?

If broken down into the smallest pieces…”bits” of information…we might find that the complexity and quantity of information in the apologetics debate exceeds or equals that which we find in DNA, the fine-tuning of the force of gravity or the expansion rate of the universe.

The complexity we find in the Christian apologetics debate …like we now find in the intelligent design debate…simply outpaces gradualistic explanations of trial-and-error development via material particles and energy alone…in a naturalistic Darwinian model.

If the apologetics argument is light-years out in front of the basic Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest explanation for this extremely advanced and sophisticated capacity in the realm of moral and intellectual reasoning…then the grounds for philosophical atheism is no longer tenable.

The irony of being a “free-thinking” atheist is: what is the point of calling oneself free-thinking if this leads back to a worldview of naturalism that has no purpose or meaning itself?

We can’t have it both ways.

We can’t argue for a worldview of naturalism that has no meaning or purpose…then insist that our argument for free-thinking atheism…outside of Christianity…has meaning.

This line of reasoning for free-thinking as a product of atheism…appears to be self-refuting…on the grounds upon which a non-theistic world is built.

The only way free-thinking works and has value is in a non-materialistic worldview that has a superior thinking, intelligent agent God…as the transcendent arbiter of an independent moral code.

No one can produce zero purpose in life.  Like absolute zero friction, an absolute zero vacuum, or an absolute zero temperature…producing an absolute zero of purpose is an unattainable fiction.  Zero purpose and meaning is not only impossible to achieve…it is virtually inconceivable and unimaginable.

Christian Politics 6

The Reformation conflict between the old-guard doctrine and teaching of the sixteenth century Roman Catholic church that people should submit and be obedient to authority…as defined by the leadership of the church in the form of popes, bishops, and priests…versus the new Protestant approach of translating the Latin Bible into the common languages so people could read it for themselves and make up their own minds…this entire galactically important  issue is itself meaningless and utterly nonsensical if in fact God does not exist.

Independent free-thinking is superfluous on any and all subjects…including philosophical atheism…if material particles and energy are the sole basis for intellectual thought and moral reasoning.

To have any meaning, value, and sense there must be an independent moral standard to go by…an intelligent agent God as an arbiter.

Material particles and subatomic energy do not qualify as rational arbiters…no matter how much professing atheistic materialists would like this to be true.

Non-theism actually removes the supporting virtue of independent free-thinking…by bringing free-thinking down into the meaningless realm of bland and thoughtless particles and energy…somehow theoretical coalescing over eons of time according to Darwinism…into this exceedingly complex dichotomy of opposing viewpoints of either submission to tyrannical authority on one extreme or free-will independent thinking on the other extreme.

Christian Politics 5

Like it is meaningless and nonsensical to base a moral framework on material particles and energy according to the philosophy of naturalism…the “free-thinking” moniker adopted by atheism and religious skepticism suffers from the same reduction to meaningless, purposeless, zero value…when placed within an atheistic worldview.

What is the ultimate difference between tyrannical despots in any social relationship…within a family, at our workplace, or as dictator, king, or Pharaoh…telling other people what to do…compared to free-thinking people having unfettered freedom of choice to follow their own independent course…what is the real difference if our autonomous thought processes and free-will extend backwards to being the mere product of the random chance roll-of-the-dice of material particles and subatomic natural forces?

What value does free-thinking have if it connects directly to a universe that is empty of purpose and meaning?

In a non-theistic world devoid of purpose and meaning…based on the incapacity of material particles and energy to possess or to produce a moral framework…on what basis do we make a value-judgment in favor of autonomous free-thinking and independent decision-making…as opposed to obeying and submitting to a tyrant who tells us what to do according to his or her personal whim or pleasure…based on their claim to possess authority by having the worldly physical power to enforce it?

A universe built upon the moral authority of bland and unthinking material particles and energy…has no moral authority.

Here the claim to “free-thinking” by atheists and religious skeptics dissolves itself.  Free-thinking in a world having no underlying purpose or meaning…is itself meaningless…is by further extension without value or worth.

Without an independent moral standard to go by…how would we know when it is the right and good thing to submit to authority or not?

Jesus and Politics 4

When we are living in self-sovereignty…we see no need to repent…to ask God’s forgiveness for our shortcomings…because our self-evaluation is conveniently biased toward a lower, more tolerant standard.

The pride of self-righteousness gives us a false standard to go by.  Because we are in charge…sitting atop the decision-making thrones of our lives…we give ourselves a pass on our shortcomings.  Without giving it a second thought we look the other way…make excuses…sweep things under the rug.  We optimistically say to ourselves: “We’re not so bad.”  We subscribe to the idea that “no one is perfect.”  In self-sovereignty we have no one “looking over our shoulder”…evaluating the quality of our lives.

And we genuinely accept this favorably biased self-appraisal as valid and “normal” according to conventional thinking.

When we are living in self-sovereign self-reliance…we unilaterally forgive ourselves…because God is nowhere in the picture.  Absent a God in our lives having an alternative higher standard…we have nothing else to go by other than the standards of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

If we step back a moment and take a mezzanine view of life…the blindly presumptive arrogance of human self-autonomy is nonsensical…it doesn’t stack up…it doesn’t hold water.

Self-autonomy is based on the erroneous idea that we are in complete control of our lives.  What untrue and unsupported evidence lies behind this grand notion for our guidance in life?

Every innate human attribute…without exception…has no source or origin within ourselves.  We do not choose the time-period or the location in which we enter this world.  We do not choose our parents or our extended family.  We do not choose…before birth…to be physically beautiful or handsome, or to be intelligent, to have gifted athletic ability, or a savvy business acumen, or the politically social ability to influence and lead other people.  We certainly have no control over how long we live.

Some people show their specific God-given talents at a young age…long before mature cognitive reasoning or the independent ability to make rational choices begins.

The famous concert pianist Van Cliburn…when he was three years old…mimicked at the piano the simple piano piece that he had heard five minutes before…played by a departing student of his piano-teacher mother…Van climbing up to seat himself at the piano while she had gone into the kitchen to start preparing dinner.  Hearing the piano piece being played again, she came out of the kitchen saying: “Johnny you must go home now…your mother will be expecting you” only to find her young son sitting alone at the piano instead…having repeated the musical melody nearly note-for-note played a few moments previously…entirely by ear without ever having touched the piano keys before.

We do not choose our individual abilities and talents…we discover them.  They are innately built into us…and not a matter of our choice at all.

The universally accepted and basically unquestioned principle of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that we have a right to the self-autonomous opportunity to prove our self-worth according to the dictum of the Frank Sinatra song “I Did It My Way”…reveals that there is something fundamentally wrong…something oddly amiss…something that does not add up…in this taken-for-granted equation for life that has us sitting atop the thrones of our lives as if we actually knew what we were doing…as if we possessed our individual play-book for our optimum life.

If people entered into life with an accompanying Instructions Manual…an Owner’s Operation & Maintenance Manual…that applied specifically to each of us…then self-autonomy might make sense.  If we possessed foresight into our individual abilities and capacities upfront…early on…that was obvious to everyone and to ourselves…then going it on our own would simply be a matter of autonomously following through on the information…of connecting the dots…of “painting by the numbers.”

The idea that we can “run our own show” without God…is a fatally flawed concept that should be obvious by virtue of the fact that we do not come with an Owner’s Operation Manual.  Some crucially important factor is missing on one or the other side of the “equals sign” in the equation of life.  We act like we are independent, self-sovereign operators…yet we do not have the Instructions Manual as to how each of us works best.

And we are violently offended when anyone even begins to question our “right” according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…to live our lives according to the dictum “I did it my way.”

Self-sovereignty versus God-sovereignty should be the number one priority…at the very top of the list of life questions to resolve before anything else…yet curiously it is not.

Self-sovereignty is the unquestioned, presumptive, crowning jewel of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.  It is the central governing principle.  It is the pride-filled guiding light of the human life lived apart from God.  It is defended to the death by all those radically committed to its cause.

How does this relate to Jesus and politics?

2 Corinthians 10:18 reads: “For not he that commandeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commandeth.”

John 5:44 reads: “How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?’

Matthew 23:11-12 reads: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

Matthew 23:13 goes on to say: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”

The obvious critical question is: “go in where?”  The answer cannot be scholarship…the scribes and Pharisees were the most highly educated people in Israel (Jn. 5:39, 7:15, 9:34).  The answer cannot be political power…as they were already the ruling elite in Jerusalem (Jn. 9:22).

The answer to the question of where we should enter in order to go in…can only be God-sovereignty.  The answer is to enter into God-composed journeys of faith as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…at the time of this statement of Jesus these would be the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Old Testament…Noah through Malachi…the New Testament Book of Acts having not occurred yet.

The one offending thing that gets the perfect Person Jesus Christ all the way to the indignity of the cross is the very thing that worldly conventional normalcy and thinking celebrates…which is self-sufficient self-sovereignty.

What will violently offend a person that is committed to self-reliance quicker than anything is to suggest our need to repent of the direction of our lives…to question our life management skills sitting atop the thrones of our lives as a junior god…to instead submit ourselves to the will and ways of God…thus wounding our pride.

Anyone who has ever been on the tipping-point of repentance…at the point of accepting Jesus Christ into our lives…or rejecting Him…knows that control is the bottom-line issue at stake.  The choice is to reject Christ and continue to maintain sole control over our lives…or to accept Christ and surrender our lives to Him as the new Lord and Master in our lives.

This is fundamental to Christianity…but it is an integral component of every positive adventure of faith recorded in the Bible.

How could this singularly perceptive insight…recorded in the Bible…about entering in at the worldly unconventional point of God-sovereignty…possibly be the product of humanistic literary invention?

When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to John the Baptist at the river Jordan…to check out what all the fuss was about this prophet preaching in the wilderness of Judaea…John said to them as recorded in Matthew chapter three:

7 But when he say many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Bring forth therefore fruits befitting for repentance.

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the granary; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

In speaking with such courageous boldness and candor to the Pharisees and Sadducees…John the Baptist goes straight to the point.

John the Baptist does not tell the ruling elites in Israel to improve their political, cultural, and social approach…or their personal piety…while remaining within self-sovereign self-rulership.  John the Baptist does not suggest an outside-to-inside approach that will produce godliness in these religious and political leaders.

John the Baptist takes the approach of inside-to-outside…of repentance that leads to God-sovereignty…which will produce fruits befitting repentance actualizing into better leadership, decision-making, and government of the people throughout the nation of Israel in the first century.

This brings us to one of the most important and influential verses in the Bible in terms of human politics and culture:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

This is the biblical concept: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17; Hab. 2:4) and the verse written by Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 that Martin Luther re-discovered that led to the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther brilliantly realized that works performed within self-sovereignty such as indulgences, pilgrimages, and the veneration of relics…fabrications out of the minds of men having no power to save…have no functional place within God-sovereignty having salvation by grace through faith.

“That not of yourselves” for Luther obviously did not include indulgences, pilgrimages, and relics designed primarily to raise money for the building of St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome…and we are indebted to him for this insight that very nearly cost him his life…when again in human history self-sovereignty violently clashes with God-sovereignty.

The fundamental take-away in this struggle between self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty…is that if we repent and cross-over from self-rulership to surrendering and yielding our lives to Jesus Christ…that from that time forward God is going to do it His way (Isa. 53:6, 55:8-9).

The ruling religious and political elite in Jerusalem at the time of the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ…put themselves forward through the pride of self-righteousness.

This is the direct opposite of the biblical-quality journey of faith in which people submit themselves to following God’s leading for their lives.

What led to the cross at Calvary was not entirely that Jesus claimed to be divine (Jn. 5:39, 6:40, 6:48, 8:12, 8:36, 10:30, 19:7) or that He inferred or admitted to being a king (Jn. 18:31-37, 19:12-15, 19:19-22)…but primarily the perceived threat to the political leadership of the religious elite in Jerusalem that was based upon the worldview of maintaining and protecting their self-sovereign self-rulership.

Politics and the cross come together with deadly impact at the point in time when the ruling religious elite in Jerusalem realize that Jesus has become a real threat to their self-sovereignty…the control over their own lives…after Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead:

“Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees council, and said, What do we?  for this man doeth many miracles.  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (Jn. 11:47-48).

If we love God with all of our heart and mind…and our neighbor as ourselves (Mk. 12:30-31)…we will not be self-serving…but this can only be actualized living in a God-composed journey of faith…within God-sovereignty.

Jesus and politics are connected at the very root…the essence…of good leadership principles that are universal and eternal in their application and outcomes…in the earthly life of Jesus and in our lives as well.

A perfect life as demonstrated by the perfect Person Jesus Christ…the Son of God…will be in absolute God-sovereignty…perfectly following a God-composed journey of faith life-script…without any shortcomings or missteps.

Living within God-sovereignty is also accessible and attainable by non-perfect, non-divine human beings…saved by graced through faith and not of works.

This is how Jesus is able to say in John 8:36…”If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  If we cross-over from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty…and find our footing within our adventure of faith following Jesus Christ as Lord and King in our lives…then we are forever safe from the temptation to become rebels again in the kingdom of God.

If the reader will indulge me further in this already too long opening chapter…I would like to make a few final points to tie together the commonsense apologetic arguments put forward so far…for the divine origin of the Bible and its gospel message.

When Abraham is asked by God to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnet offering…after the long adventure of faith Abraham had experienced up to this point…the human side of him must have thought: “What do I have to do to bring to closure this called-out journey of faith?  Will I ever reach the end-point victory in what God has scripted for my life?”

As Joseph languishes in the prison of Pharaoh in Egypt…having failed in his attempt to gain release through the butler and baker…prior to the dream given to Pharaoh by God…Joseph must have entertained the thought that the two prophetic dreams he had as a young man back in Canaan will never be realized.  With each day Joseph performs his duties as a prisoner/caretaker in Pharaoh’s prison…with no foreseeable scenario for escape…Joseph is looking failure square in the face.

As Moses travels back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Israelites…certainly Moses is entertaining the possibility of utter failure and the sheer magnitude of his called-out assignment to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land of Canaan.

As David is being chased for his life by King Saul…surely David must think to himself at various times that this unanticipated development…and especially at the time of the disaster at Ziklag…that this was not part of the information given to David upfront at the time he was anointed to become king by the prophet Samuel.

On Saturday after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as he lay dead inside the rock tomb of Joseph of Arimathea…Peter is wondering where and how everything seems to have gone wrong…and how he has fallen short of his potential and calling to be a leader of the presumed future Christian church…with the living Jesus as its head in Jerusalem.

The day after Jesus Christ reveals Himself to Saul/Paul in a brilliant light on the road to Damascus…as Paul sits inside the house of Judas on the street named Straight…temporarily blind…Paul must have contemplated the absurdity of God choosing him to take the message of Jesus Christ as Messiah to the greater Greco-Roman world at-large.

2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.  1 Corinthians 1:27 tells us that God has chosen the weak to confound the mighty.

The final compelling commonsense argument that ties together the key points in this first chapter…is that Jesus Christ as the Son of God…cannot be weak…but He can be a failure in terms of the appraisal of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Looking back in time upon the first advent of Jesus Christ…He is all of Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 combined into an unimaginably complex life-script.

Jesus Christ can exhibit divine humility in order to connect with us where we are…can askew participation in contemporary politics and cultural wars…can preach world-changing new doctrines and work miracles befitting the Son of God…but to make it all the way to the cross of Calvary to shed His blood as the Passover Lamb of God…Jesus must be a failure in life in terms of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

This is how you get a perfect Person Jesus Christ to the cross at Calvary.

What is truly remarkable from an apologetic standpoint and an inspirational viewpoint…is that God is capable of composing a life-script for Himself that challenges the divine character of the divine Son of God Jesus in the two major areas in our discipleship that challenge us the most.

In Luke 22:42 it famously reads: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Jesus cannot be outside of God-sovereignty…He is God…the second Person of the Trinity.

Yet the fact that Jesus has difficulty…in the Garden of Gethsemane…with His upcoming ordeal in taking upon Himself the sins of the world the next day…tells us that in making the difficult transition from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty…that amazingly God has been there Himself and can help us in this regard.

Likewise for those called-out Christians today enlisted to be medical missionaries in the Amazon rainforest, or pastors of small town churches, or Bible college professors on a teacher’s salary, or street evangelists in the poor sections of major cities, or foreign missionaries called to plant new churches around the world…along with a host of other tasks misunderstood, unappreciated, and disdained by worldly conventional expectations…the fact that the perfect Person Jesus Christ was also a failure according to conventional normalcy and thinking…tells us that God has purposely been there Himself and can help us in this regard.

How to get a perfect Person Jesus Christ all the way to the cross…yet maintain perfection in order to quality as the blemish-free Passover Lamb sacrifice for sin…while setting up the context of a life-script that would enable God to experience in a human body humility, self-discipline, and the unimaginable element of failure…all for our benefit…is simply beyond human imaginative creation.

Chapter Two starts with a discussion of another commonsense apologetic argument for the divine origin of the Bible…and the existence of God…which is the delicate balance between belief and unbelief.

Jesus and Politics Two

This is a revised post from 18 days ago…taken from chapter one of my new Christian book:

God Didn’t Create Robots: Commonsense Christian Apologetics.

If Jesus Christ had come in the days just before Noah…it would have been a disappointing disaster (Gen. 6:5-6).

Some of the people at that chaotic time would have listened to His message, visually seen and personally experienced His miracles, and repented of their sinful life…but a Passover-quality sacrifice for the sins of mankind would have no backstory then…no brilliantly fine-tuned past history…leading up to His incarnation that would make perfect sense in a pre-scripted…timely way.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ coming too early would be like introducing mankind into existence during the Jurassic Period of the dinosaur.  Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1…”To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

An untimely incarnation of Jesus Christ would be…in military jargon…a “serious misallocation of resources.”

The life-script for Jesus Christ in first-century Israel has an incredibly rich backstory and a perfectly engineered context in which to play itself out to the fullest…in terms of world-changing impact.

This again is commonsense apologetic evidence for the divine origin of the Bible.

No human power of inventive imagination or clever contrivance…could skillfully combine all of the political, social, cultural, and religious factors together…along with the ancient biblical prophecies of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53…and numerous other scattered, prophetic messianic verses throughout the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)…and produce the dramatic events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God…and His resurrection from the dead three days later…at any other time in human history.

Try to think of a better time for Jesus Christ to come into this world…there isn’t one.

Satan had worked hard for years to install people as the religious ruling elite in Jerusalem in the first half of the first-century (Jn. 8:44)…ambitious people falling prey to the enticing and seductive temptation to accept the riches and power of this world…utterly self-serving…the exact same temptation that Jesus Christ in divine character judiciously refused in the wilderness (Lk. 4:5-8).

But this seemingly clever chess-board strategy of Satan backfires in his face…because the political, social, cultural, and religious structure in first-century Israel…built around worldly self-interest…unlike the chaotic and unstructured time-period before Noah…actually creates the precise environment…the perfect context for setting up the injustice of the proceedings culminating in the cross of Calvary…openly exposing the true nature of self-serving self-sovereignty at the heart of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Jn. 15:25).

It is the structured make-up of the chess-board set of rules in place in early first-century Jerusalem that enables the exposure of the wide gulf between the two worldviews of self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty…self-sovereignty personified in the religious elites violently attacking God-sovereignty personified in Jesus Christ…abandoning any pretext to civility, fair-mindedness, or justice…right in the middle of one of the proudest moments in human civilization…featuring the stability of Roman laws and civil government, the pinnacle of Greek philosophy and thought, the established system of Jewish religious laws and worship, and a receptive backstory of the social and cultural expectation of a soon-coming messiah in Israel (Jn. 11:47-48; Mk. 15:29-32).

What should never have happened during this civilized time period in history…is Calvary.

Yet the timing of God for the incarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God is impeccable.  Jesus and politics are inseparably linked.

The timing of the incarnation of Jesus Christ into our world tells us that God cares a great deal about the political, social, cultural, and religious structure…and that He is savvy and well-informed on all aspects about good and evil across the political and social spectrum…beyond anything human beings could imagine or contrive.

Without the very-human and universally stereotypical cast of characters…of the Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and scribes (Lk. 11:52; Jn. 11:47-48)…Caiaphas the high priest (Jn. 11:49-50; Mt. 26:57-65)…and Pilate the Roman governor (Mt. 27:18, 24)…revealing the frailty and unreliability of human nature in this critical choice between self-sovereignty and God-sovereignty…the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for the sins of mankind…on a Roman cross in first-century Jerusalem…would never have happened.

At any other time or place…”cooler heads might prevail”…with Jesus Christ only being exiled out of the country or placed under house arrest…or on the other extreme beaten to death by an unruly mob using clubs…but not crucified in a semi-official, hurried-up process that attempted to have the outward seal of judicial legitimacy…that could not white-wash over or conceal the reality of the truly evil intent behind the murder of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

The incompatible mixture of injustice and divine redemption are blended together by God at Calvary…using divine foresight and perfectly executed performance to have Jesus Christ nailed to a cross on Passover Friday…dying in the late afternoon at the same time of day the Passover lambs are killed.

The main point in all of this is that the blood that Jesus sheds on the cross has divine life…it contains cleansing, transforming, character elevating power.  God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit knew this from the beginning of time (Rev. 13:8; Jn. 8:36).  They have always known this (Ex. 12:13; Num. 21:8-9).

In carefully choosing the political, social, cultural, and religious time and place for the incarnation of Jesus Christ…the goal always was to get Jesus to the cross.

The extremely narrow path that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit navigate in the life-script for the Messiah in first-century Israel…is to get a sinless, blemish-free, perfect Person living at the highest level beyond anything ever encountered in human history…to the lowest imaginable end-point rejection of the cross…to be the Passover Lamb of God…sacrificing His life’s blood for mankind’s sin.

The utter injustice of the civil proceedings of the cross on Calvary Hill that uniquely fateful day in Jerusalem…and the highest level of justice honored, sustained, and upheld by God in taking upon Himself the penalty for our sin…a penalty we are incapable of paying on our own behalf…has a precision of creative engineering and architectural skill that is equal to or surpasses that of the Big Bang, the Cambrian Explosion, the Anthropic Principle, or the complexity of DNA.

To get a perfect Person to the cross is beyond humanistic literary imagination or invention.

Jesus Christ sheds His life-giving blood on a Roman cross of execution…rather than being stoned to death by the Jewish authorities for blasphemy…because it was the unprecedented assertion that Jesus made Himself Christ…a king…in violation of the current political structure (Lk. 23:2; Jn. 19:7, 12, 15, 19).

Before Noah’s time…the people then may have simply said: “Go ahead and make yourself a king of somewhere or something of your choosing…we don’t care one way or the other…there is plenty of open territory to create a new kingdom.”

The insightful forethought and premeditation to connect Jesus to the structured politics of the first-century Greco-Roman world…to get Jesus to the cross…and the blood of the Passover Lamb applied to the header and side-posts of our hearts…so that the angel of death will “pass over” us…is divine.

The cross of Christ set forever on Calvary Hill…is the epitome…the pinnacle…of the concept that God can take evil and turn it around to produce good…in this case good that is of incalculable worth.

This single-minded, end-point goal of the life-script of Jesus to get Him to the cross…and to the resurrection three days later…turns worldly conventional normalcy and thinking upside-down on its head.

The complexity of the information content…the intensity of the end-point purpose that is honed-in on…the premeditated foresight needed…and the sheer beauty and high-quality of the thought process and ideas involved…all argue persuasively against the gradualistic evolutionary development of material particles alone…which is the central contention of naturalistic philosophy.

But this life and power comes to live inside Spirit-born Christians (Jn. 14:17; Gal. 2:20; Rev. 3:20)…not to exercise dominance over the world…not to be masters of the human race…not to be recipients of the very misguided use of self-serving power that Jesus refused in the temptation in the wilderness (Mt. 4:10).

The divine life and power of the blood of Jesus enables Christians to become like God to some extent…to become redeemed, transformed, and called-out people…in close conformity to the examples of the journeys of faith recorded in the Bible…especially the life-script of Jesus (Eph. 3:16-19; Jn. 15:13).

This explains the radical conversion in the lives of the apostle Paul and James the half-brother of Jesus…and the crafting of the men and women of the early Christian church into bold and fearless evangelists who “turned the world upside down” (Acts 8:4, 17:6) in the first-century.

Spirit-born Christians still remain created, non-divine beings…but with the new capacity to be become servant-leaders…giving ourselves willingly to love God with all of our hearts and minds…and our neighbors as ourselves…according to individually crafted, God-composed journey of faith life-scripts (Eph. 2:10)…that glorify God and help other people.

Looking around in the “real” world of conventional normalcy and thinking…could any person who is not engaged in an adventure of faith following God’s lead…who does not personally know the God of the Bible (Jer. 31:31-34)…invent this extraordinarily complex and functionally integrated information?

The mere existence of this concept put down into writing…of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts which displace our ways with God’s higher ways…energized by the life and power of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and His resurrection three days later…applied to Spirit-born Christians…is a compelling argument for the divine origin of the Bible and its message…based alone on the sheer unconventionality and innovative originality of its information content…as far outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking as is imaginable.