Jesus recieved an enormous amount of attention for His miracles, but He wouldn’t allow His mission to redirected. In John 6:1-14, Jesus fed a crowd of thousands with a little boy’s lunch. The people who ate the miraculous meal were so thrilled that some in the crowd wanted to make Him king (v.15). They wanted to ride the wave of Christ’s power and popularity to a new political reality, independent from foreign control.
Jesus avoided this hostile take over by slipping away into the country side. He didn’t want His life’s work to be associated with one particular political agenda. Jesus clearly cared about morality, social issues, and the truth, but He didn’t take sides in the ongoing struggle between Jerusalem and Rome. He is referred to as a king at numerous points in the Gospel of John, but he wouldn’t accept the crown from a bunch of activists (John 1:49, 12:13, 18:37).
Christians on “both sides of today’s aisle” should be careful about baptizing their passion project, social issue, or political agenda in Jesus’s name. When we do, we run the risk of obscuring the gospel and redirecting Christ’s mission. At the very least, this approach takes away from our ability to discuss and debate issues in the public square. At it’s worst, this approach puts us the place of making moral declarations beyond what God has said in His Word. Where God has been clear, we should be clear and where God has been silent, we should be much more tentative.
Jesus recieved an enourmous amount of attention for what He said and did in John 6, but we should also pay attention to what He didn’t do. He woudn’t accept a cheap and easy crown. He didn’t get behind the powerstruggle of an restless crowd. He gave Himself as as sacrfice for our sins so that whoever believes in Him might have eternal life.