george hancock stefanDuring this season of Lent, I was thinking that as Jesus Christ approached His crucifixion, He had certain expectations from the Twelve Apostles that He chose. As I thought on this subject, politics mingled with my reflections because we as the American public have certain expectations of our Congress and President. Needless to say, both the disciples and our government were found wanting.

Jesus Christ chose twelve disciples. He taught them through word and deed for over three years. There were times when they understood Him and times when they were as far as possible from the will of God for their lives.

The Twelve were the ones chosen to change the world.  These were the people God shaped so that they will sit on the 12 thrones with Him in his future Kingdom. Yet, sometimes they shocked everyone, including the Lord Jesus Christ.  Sometimes their actions were done from selfishness, but sometimes they were done because of their steadfast allegiance to Jesus. 

One time, the disciples saw a man doing good by healing sick people. The disciples came to Jesus and said, “’We saw a man driving out demons in your name and we stopped him, because he is not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him’, Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’” (Luke 9:49-50)

Another time, the event was not as pleasant. Jesus tried to pass through a city, and the residents forbade him to go through their territory.  The disciples came to Jesus and said, “’Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them as Elijah did?’ But Jesus turned to them and rebuked them saying, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’ And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:5-56)

I thought of these two situations as I watched the many controversies between President Obama and Congress.  The President delivered probably one of his greatest speeches at the 50th Anniversary of Selma.  To paraphrase a commentator, this address had everything that a great speech should have – excellent content, passion, anger, superb oratorical delivery, history, Scripture, and prophetic insights.  Yet the same president can be so vindictive when things do not go his way.

The US Senate tried to outdo the President in their vindictiveness through their letter to the Iranian government. Any student of American history is aware that while this action can be done by the Senate, negotiations with foreign governments are done by the President and his cabinet.

Both groups – the President and his cabinet and the Senate looked small, immature, and petulant in the eyes of the world. The world still looks to our government and this was not one of the finest hours. 

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, there is a description of a misunderstanding between Abraham’s and Lot’s servants.  The verse is introduced this way, “And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot.”  What follows is very intriguing because a verse was squeezed in before the solution was offered.  It reads as follows, “The Canaanites and the Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.” (Genesis: 13:7)  What was the purpose of that verse?  This was done to remind the Israelites and us that our agreements and disagreements and our harmony and quarrels are seen by our neighbors and in our time, by the whole world.

I felt sorry for our President and I felt sorry for the Senate.  They stooped to a level that one does not expect people at their high level to act.  They were fighting like little kids that did not get their way and decided to spite the other – take their toys and go home. And the world was watching, wondering if this is the best that we can offer.