By Betty Nambooze Bakireke
After centuries of oppression, abuse, displacement, corruption, and disgrace, they were finally hopeful. After being forced to pay taxes to pagan Caesar and shuffling past Roman guards on the way to the Temple, they were angry. After watching friends and neighbours turn their backs on the nation and their faith in pursuit of a buck or some political position, they were fed up.
Fortunately, Jesus revealed the alternative. He called it “The Kingdom of God.” It’s a political way of life based not on triumphant violence, but rather humble service. The politics of Jesus promised everyone a daily bread, it taught to forgive debts and sins, it called on people to avoid the temptation to commit evil against neighbors, and it called for a life of forgiveness. It also called on the rich to sell their corruptly acquire wealth and share the proceeds with the poor.
But it was risky. We know that the politics of Jesus led him to Good Friday, where he suffered and died. It was Politics of defiance against an established dictatorial government that controlled both the Church and the State.
For years the Romans managed to subdue any Palestinian uprisings. Many questioned if there would be another Messianic rebellion if Jesus appeared in Jerusalem for the next Passover. Due to the influx of pilgrims celebrating this Passover, the population had tripled. Word spread quickly of the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38).
On this day as Jesus rode into the city from the East side of the City on a donkey that symbolised peace, Pontious Pirate led by the mighty army parade of the Romans was also matching in the city from the West side. It was a great contrast, Jesus and group exhibiting the people’s power and Pirato, exhibiting the power of a powerful ruler. It pointed to a revolution and the romans had to act quickly by killing Jesus the same week.
Imagine if its indepedence day and as Museveni drives in his powerful convoy to Kololo from Entebbe,Besigye leads crowds from Kasangati to march into the same venue….what would happen? Ancient Roman politics was essentially like the politics of Uganda today where people are influenced through power, coercion, and violence and where opponents are eliminated.
Indeed, the politics of Jesus seeks to influence our personal lives, and our relationship with God almight. However it also seeks to influence our political lives. Wherever political systems use violence, power, and coercion to be triumphant and victorious,they are in essence fighting Jesus ideology.
Jesus beckons us to follow him into a different kind of politics – into the Kingdom of God that lives and dies by love, service, and forgiveness,unfortunately this is politics calls for defying the status quo. Lets find strength to follow Jesus on a donkey in the City. Happy Palms Sunday.