“He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all.” (Acts 10:36)
Jesus is Lord of all and has no need for Caesar’s throne over Rome. If so, Jesus’s followers would seek a violent overthrow of the government. The problem isn’t that Jesus is a rival for Caesar’s throne, but that Caesar idolatrously seeks to be Lord in the place of King Jesus. The problem, as Luke narrates Luke/Acts, isn’t that the followers of King Jesus seek to place Jesus on Caesar’s throne (that would be sedition) but that Caesar views himself in such a way that he is usurping Jesus’s throne.
The truth Caesar believes is that Rome is the hope for the world. The truth the Church believes is that only Jesus is the hope of the world. (Col. 1:27)
The truth Caesar believes is that the Roman empire is the most exceptional kingdom in the world and that all other people from all other nations should submit to its authority. The truth the Church believes is that the most exceptional kingdom in the world is the kingdom of God and through King Jesus they have become a different kind of nation charged to take its truth into all other nations. (1 Peter 2:9)
The truth Caesar believes is that Rome is worthy of all allegiance and requires all people, including Christians, pledge allegiance to the flag of Rome. The truth the Church believes is that the pledge of allegiance requires unconditional devotion. For them the only thing to which they can unconditionally offer their devotion is King Jesus and His Kingdom. (1 Peter 3:21)
Truth not only describes, it prescribes, proclaims and provokes. When Truth is embodied and proclaimed it becomes a peaceful protest against the oppressive false narratives of consumerism, anxiety, fear, violence, and self preservation that dominate society. This is where Truth is met with antagonism. When the protest of truth is confronted with antagonism it cannot be allowed to devolve to a greater antagonism making truth a weapon. Instead, Truth should meet all those in disagreement with a posture of reconciliation and continue onward because that is how God has revealed Truth. This is because the Christian Tradition teaches us that Truth isn’t just a fact, statement of reality, or a position, it is a Person, the God Incarnate, King Jesus.
Truth, whatever one means by the notion, creates movements, life-giving movements or death-dealing movements, because truth forms a narrative—an understanding of how the world works and what kind of life can live up to it. Therefore, truth writes for every person within its reach a script for living. This script introduces to us the people, places and things we need in our lives to make life work according to the truth we have come to believe.
Jesus as our Truth has written for us a script. Will we spend our days studying and rehearsing His script or will we spend them studying and rehearsing the script handed to us by America? We must choose.