Nationalism and the Gospel of Jesus

It doesn't have to be, but it's better to struggle together, than against each other.
It doesn’t have to be, but it’s better to struggle together, than against each other.

The world is a dark place. In times of struggle, war, poverty, famine, disease, and systematic world-wide oppression, hope seems not an option; in fact, hope is pointless. The more a people group attempts to struggle its way through the hard times, the more other people groups oppress them, for their own specific goals and benefits. The more one person struggles against the system, the more another person, or group of people struggles against that person. Living has evolved from survival through cooperative gathering, and reliance on the group as a whole; living has evolved to a competition, where one man/womyn must fight against an entire system to become what they think is their dream. The American Dream is just that. In actual specificity the dream is essentially: “If you work hard enough, and do all the right things, you can make it to the big time, despite the odds.” The problem with this dream, is that there should not be, and never were, odds; not until the birth of the empire (not specifically American, but all empire).

The competition of survival in the human race is a very new thing in the long history of humankind. And yet, we see it as the only way of living. In fact this very empire has crept its nationalism and competition into our lives on many levels; then separating not only religious communities, of separate religions and same religions, but also separating families, friends, communities, and entire cultures. The evil of this is not immediately apparent to those who have bought into, or been blinded to truth, by their nationalism.

“Give us Barabbas!”, from The Bible and its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons, 1910

When Jesus came to this earth, he came to bring a sword, not peace (Matt. 10:34), to the people of Palestine. His words were not intended to appease the people, nor approve of the Law in what it had become. The Law of Moses had become more than guidelines for how God set his people apart from the world, but essentially evolved into the exact opposite! The very call of God for his people to be different from the other empires of earth, birthed into a nationalistic religion of strict adherence to the Law of the Pharisees, and the compendiums of commentary that had been compiled over the centuries. And this what what Jesus came to divide with a sword. His words were powerfully divisive, anti-Nationalistic, anti-Law, and anti-Empire. The very reason he was crucified many Biblical Scholars and Historians agree, was for his insurrection to the Empire. But if you’ll notice the Empire of Rome really had no interest in crucifying Jesus. When Pilate, who was Rome’s spokesperson at this point, dealt with Jesus, he really did not want to crucify Jesus, and washed his hands of the matter, calling Jesus just; giving Jesus to the Jews, removing Pilate himself from the equation (Matt. 27:24)

It was the corrupted nationalism in Palestine, birthed from a corrupted Law, that crucified Jesus. His insurrection to that Law, and his refusal to approve of the Pharisaical belief system, is what was his end. But it was not his end, but really his intentional beginning.

Jesus’ Gospel was birthed through his sword through the Empire. His story of love, and cooperative giving. His emotional attachment to the poor, and his desire to see all in a community of one Human Race, was his end game. Rejecting his peace, forces us to war. Rejecting his love, forces us to hate. Rejecting his daily bread, forces us into famine. Rejecting his community, forces us into competition. Can you not see how Jesus was so far from a nationalist? Can you not see how this Love of Empire has causes so much damage to the work of his Love? Can you not see how fighting against ourselves, and our brothers of humankind causes the rift between Jesus’ people, and the lost, to widen?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”