In a world where pledging allegiance to Rome meant declaring, “Caesar is Lord,” substituting Jesus for Caesar offered a new political orientation. Every time the early Christians proclaimed, “Jesus is Lord”, they were also saying “Caesar is not.”

The Mystery of Christ

“These people who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here. … They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus!” (Acts 17:6–7)

In a world where pledging allegiance to Rome meant declaring, “Caesar is Lord,” substituting Jesus for Caesar offered a new political orientation. Every time the early Christians proclaimed, “Jesus is Lord”, they were also saying “Caesar is not.” It was deeply and subversively political. It was just as strange to say “Jesus is my Lord” 2000 years ago as it would be to declare him Commander in Chief today. It was an invitation to a new political imagination centered around the person, teaching, and peculiar politics of Christ. This political orientation invites every political leader and worldly power to conform to the norms of the upside-down Kingdom of God where the poor are blessed, the last come first…

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