Interaction of Christ and His Disciples with the Government

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

How should a ministry or church model its activity? Follow the example of Jesus Christ! It is impossible to claim a biblical ministry that does not follow the example left by Jesus.  Jesus and His disciples displayed how we should interact in civil society. The Bible contains numerous examples of Christ and the disciples interacting with the civil authorities. Every example was either them ministering to the individual authority figure or responding to a charge for ministering the Gospel. I have found NOT ONE example of a political movement or some political action committee. I am attempting to post a comprehensive list to demonstrate this point. It is a distraction of the devil to engage the church or a ministry in achieving a political agenda.  I strongly encourage everyone to look at the examples below and seek any that I missed. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Comprehensive List (duplicate accounts intentionally omitted).

  1. Ruler’s raised daughter. Matt 9:18-26. Ministering.
  2. Ruler of the synagogue raised daughter. Mark 5:35-43. Ministering.
  3. Jarius Daughter. Luke 8:40-56. Ministering.
  4. Ruler with a question. Luke 18:18. Ministering.
  5. Ruler of the feast. John 2:9. Ministering.
  6. Nicodemus. John 3:1. Ministering.
  7. Crispus saved. Acts 18:18. Ministering.
  8. Charges brought before Gallio. Acts 18:12-17. Answering charge.
  9. Paul before the high priest. Acts 23:5. Answering charge.
  10. Healing Servant of Centurion at Capernaum. Matt 8:5-13. Ministering.
  11. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Matt 27:54. Charge and Ministering.
  12. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Mark 15:39. Charge and Ministering.
  13. The body of Jesus. Mark 15:44-45. Charge.
  14. Sick servant of the centurion. Luke 7:2-6. Ministering.
  15. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Luke 23:47. Charge and Ministering.
  16. Cornelius. Acts 10:1-22. Ministering.
  17. Paul before the Roman tribune. Acts 22:22-29. Charge.
  18. Paul before the governor. Acts 23:35. Charge.
  19. Paul before the Council. Acts 22:30. Charge.
  20. Paul before Felix. Acts 24:1-21. Charge.
  21. Paul before Festus. Acts 24:22-27. Charge.
  22. Paul in prison under centurion. Acts 28:16. Charge.
  23. Herod and the baby Jesus. Matt 2:1-15. Charge.
  24. Herod and John the Baptist. Matt 14:1-6. Ministering.
  25. Herod and John the Baptist. Mark 6:14-22. Ministering.
  26. John the Baptist reproving Herod. Luke 3:19. Ministering (it is safe to interpret ‘all these things’ as personal evils because that would be consistent with everything else recorded of John as opposed to thinking this were civil wrongs inconsistent with all of John’s other recorded words).
  27. Joanna giving to the Lord’s ministry. Luke 8:3. Ministering.
  28. Herod wondering about Jesus. Luke 9:7-9. Charge.
  29. Warning that Herod will kill Jesus. Luke 13:31. Charge.
  30. Jesus before Herod and Pilate. Luke 23. Charge.
  31. Herod persecuting the church and being struck down. Acts 12. Charge.
  32. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Matt 22:16. Charge.
  33. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Mark 3:6. Charge.
  34. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Mark 12:13. Charge.

I have left off purely religious leaders because preaching the truth and contending for the faith in spiritual matters is exactly what the church and ministries should be doing. So, Paul rebuking Peter is not included nor Jesus discussing the law with the religious leaders.  The leaders trying to build a charge of blasphemy against Jesus is listed.

Old Testament examples do not apply in the New Testament because Israel was a theocratic democracy. In other words, it was both a state and a religion. That is NOT the case in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus specifically said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36.


2 responses to “Interaction of Christ and His Disciples with the Government”

  1. Cory Smith Avatar
    Cory Smith

    Thanks so much for this list! It’s very helpful. I would point out a possible flaw in your reasoning in the opening paragraph, however… It would not be fair to reason that the lack of examples of Jesus or his followers engaging in political action THEN means that it is inappropriate for followers of Jesus to engage in political action TODAY. 1st Century Jews and Christians had no real rights or abilities to be heard by their governing authorities on their political preferences. It is little wonder that there is no biblical record of such an attempt. Disciples of Jesus who enjoy such rights and privileges today are right to question how our fidelity to Christ might shape the way we steward them.

    1. Thank you and you are correct. The political climate during that day was drastically different than ours in the United States. There were huge penalties placed on dissenters during Roman rule. However, a search (“dissent during Roman empire”) brings up a number of papers published discussing dissent during that time. So, it did happen just that it often resulted in the death of those on the wrong end of the power.

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