Jesus For President?

During the past few months campaign signs of every color have littered leaf-covered yards, slam campaign ads have littered airways, and bumper stickers have touted the driver’s candidate of choice. I have grown so callous to all of this campaigning that I almost don’t even notice the signs and stickers anymore. Yet, one bumper sticker successfully caught my attention. This sticker was white with blue and red lettering that spelled out “Jesus For President 2008.” I have seen many awful “Christian” bumper stickers, but this one particularly irked me. Are we truly willing to place the name of Christ among the names of political candidates begging for our votes? It is true that Christ is the greatest leader the world has ever seen, but it belittles His great name to place it on a sticker for a position that is greatly inadequate.

Beyond the owner of this sticker, many Christians have grown exceedingly anxious over the presidential race. The candidates have claimed that Americans should place our hope in them, because they will deliver us from our problems and lead us to a better future. Unfortunately, many Christians have done just what they have asked and mistakenly placed their hope of salvation in a fallen man instead of a faultless Savior. Some Christians have placed their faith in the victor, Barack Obama, to set right all that is ill with the world. Other Christians, who supported John McCain, have grown hopeless at the prospect of living for four or eight years under Obama’s leadership.

The book of Hebrews offers correction to this mindset and encouragement to the downcast, reminding us that as Christians our hope is not to be placed in a presidential candidate who will “work for us,” but in the reigning King who laid down His life for us. We find these words in Hebrews 6:13-20,

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you.’ And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For People swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes, an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

In this passage, the author of Hebrews gives the example of God’s promise to Abraham, which after waiting patiently, he obtained when his wife bore him Isaac in her old age. This gives us confidence that God is trustworthy and fulfills His promises. Those who are heirs of Abraham, not through ethnicity, but through Abraham-like faith, are also “heirs of the promise” God made to Abraham. The promised “seed” of Abraham would come many years after Abraham’s death in the person of Jesus Christ. In a world filled with constant change, verse 17 reminds us that God remains unchangeable and fulfills his promises by giving Abraham a son, and through his lineage, a Messiah. It is in this Messiah, Jesus, that we are to place our hope, because as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Him.” This is not a hope that can be swayed by the events of this life, but it is a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” This hope is not in a man who sits behind a desk in the Oval Office, but in a man who “enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” Our hope is not placed in a President who empathizes with us, but in a Great High Priest who continually intercedes for us. Our hope is not in an elected office that expires after four or at most eight years, but in a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek who, as Hebrews 7 tells us, has “neither beginning of days nor end of life” and who “continues as a priest forever.” If our hope is in our eternal High Priest, our Forever King on a Forever Throne, our Good Shepherd, there is no reason to ever lose hope because He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

So, the bumper sticker parading “Jesus For President” fails because it gives Him far too little credit. His position is much more than the Commander in Chief; He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). He does not need to plead for votes, or anxiously await the approval of the Electoral College because He knows that one day, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). So we must not fall into turmoil over the present because we know what is to come. We have read the end of the story. We know that God will put the period at the end of the sentence of human history. Revelation tells us that our King will defeat Satan and even Death itself, and will bring about “a new heaven and a new earth” (21:1). Under His reign “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (21:4). This is not the empty promise of a slogan or a pithy bumper sticker–this is hope we can believe in!