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Where are our Caesars?



I saw today someone post on social media that the meaning of Epiphany, the declaration that Jesus is Christ or King, is that Jesus is Lord and therefore Caesar is not, Herod is not, the violence of the world is not, etc. The quote was attributed to Sarah Miles. Though I couldn't find the quote, I've heard the sentiment many times. It echoes Matthew's Gospel, when Herod learns of the star in the sky and that the wiseman were searching for a new king of the Jewish people. His response was to be terrified.


Jesus is Lord, so Caesar is not. Something like this seems to be the claim of the early Christians. Their allegiance was to the true Lord, the true Son of God, not self-aggrandized Caesar in Rome or other powers and principalities, but Jesus, who would return to bring the final judgment over the living and the dead and usher God's reign forever into a new Earth.


I see liberal Christians especially in Episcopalian and other Protestant circles gladly make such declarations. However, what I see in practice is very different. "Jesus is Lord, so Caesar is not" ends up being something like "Jesus is Lord, so the political leaders and political party I disagree with is not." Often I see Christians replacing one type of Caesar, one type of Empire, with another. Allegiance isn't placed in God alone, but in left-wing politicians, candidates, policies, goals.


If Epiphany is a declaration that Jesus is King, and not just of the Jewish people but all Creation, we've sadly replaced that message with something watered down and weak. We've replaced our allegiance onto the political allies we think match up today with the Gospel, forgetting that the Gospel demands we replace political parties with something much more. The Gospel demands our full allegiance to the Risen Lord Jesus, because he alone rules over heaven and earth. If we put our hope in this or that political candidate, or this or that party, or the goals of the current news cycle, we will always hope in vain. If we place our hope in Christ, we will never hope in vain. No one and nothing else is worth of our hope and our faith.


So this Epiphany let's take a hard look and reconsider what Caesars and what rulers and principalities we've chosen to put our trust in. Let us look to the one true light of the world, the Crucified and Risen one, Jesus.

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