Storming the Capitol in the Name of Jesus

If It Was a Revolution the Crowd was Looking for, Jesus Would Have No Part In It

Todd Brewer / 1.7.21

The images from yesterday were unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Amid the certification of election votes, a mob descended upon the Capitol Building, broke through the barricades, and vandalized the place where laws are written. Congress was immediately disbanded and ushered into undisclosed safe rooms. Doors were barricaded, guns were drawn, tear gas fired. Seeing banners of a politician hanging from a government building was shocking to watch.

Storming the Capitol building to interrupt the business of Congress was as unprecedented as it was illegal. For a few hours the government was thrown into chaos and fright. Some will call it an act of insurrection, others an exercise of the First Amendment. I call it terror. The influencers snapping photos at the dais of the House were certainly making a statement.

But the images of the day that turned my stomach most were the Jesus signs scattered throughout the crowd. Some read “Jesus 2020.” Others simply said “Jesus saves.” I can only speculate why these signs were there, but amid a sea of partisan red, white, and blue, the Jesus signs stuck out, imbuing the scene with divine sanction: a march in the name of Jesus aimed at the heart of a nation’s government.

Whatever Jesus was up to yesterday, I don’t think he was cheering the crowd on. The man who blessed the peacemakers would not break the Capitol windows alongside military clad vandals and jingoistic banners. The tear gas from local police is not the kind of persecution Jesus foretold for his followers.

Our emotional investment in politics is so high that the indifference of Jesus toward building an earthly kingdom is unimaginable to us. Our causes are always righteous, and God must be on our side. Yet Jesus’ kingdom did not seek the revolution we want. The moment we twist his message into vitriol and try to build his kingdom with our own hands is the moment he walks away.

The Gospel of Mark tells of a similar march on a capital. As Jesus approached Jerusalem, a mob began to line the streets, waving palms. Like the true Davidic king foretold by Zechariah, he was riding a donkey. The chanting crescendoed the closer he came to a city ruled by an illegitimate foreign power. Insurrection was on everyone’s minds — except for Jesus’s. The procession continued uphill to the Temple mount as the Roman soldiers grew anxious and clutched their swords. Jesus ascended the steps of the Temple and looked around. After glancing at the crowd, he quietly left the city. The frenzy turned to disappointment as it all amounted to nothing.

If it was a revolution the crowd was looking for, Jesus would have no part in it. This king did not stoke the outrage of the crowd or beckon them to bring swords. This king did not storm the offices of Pilate or the throne room of Caesar.

The disappointments of the crowd who sought to make him king would quickly turn on Jesus. Those who shouted, “Hosanna to the king of kings,” would soon yell, “Crucify him.” Those who wished to seat him on a throne would enthrone him on a cross. His crown was made not of laurels, but of thorns. Jesus became a king by dying for the very lost souls who insisted he be nailed to a tree. For you, me, and everyone at the Capitol yesterday.

The conquests of Jesus look like defeats. This king does not seek power, but repeatedly gives it up. In his birth, in his ministry, and in his death, the dominion of the Lord is manifest in weakness and humility. His is an upside-down kingdom whose blessings are for all peoples and nations. He is the king of all, but not the one we would ever elect.

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11 responses to “Storming the Capitol in the Name of Jesus”

  1. Abby says:

    Well said. Thank you for this reflection!

  2. Adam Morton says:

    Thanks, Todd. Seems to me there’s a legit second commandment (in Lutheran and Catholic counting – that’s third for you other Protestants) issue here. Not only THAT we say “Jesus”, but when and how.

    • Julie says:

      We live local to the Nick Sandman debacle … when I first saw the image of that young man in the face of a Native American, I thought what a punk . …. The media frenzy was unbelievable. The boy had to go into hiding . There were death threats , his life was turned upside down . But interesting enough it was a set up . So well orchestrated to make the silly viewer like me believe. Perhaps those people were actually urged into the building ,
      Escorted even , local friends have live footage of that happening , perhaps the Jesus signs were a set up … ya know similar to how Mr Sandman was clearly set up . He was able to sue and be repaid for the trouble he went through . Those days are over , all these outlets have placed protective measures to ensure the propaganda is protected . Sounds a bit law heavy pointing fingers and presumably innocent people . I’ve also been to the grassy knoll , people can be super creative .

      • Adam Morton says:

        The law IS heavy. And not to take the name of the Lord your God in vain is a very serious thing. I don’t think the organizers of the Jericho March (they chose the name – the media didn’t) have thought nearly enough about that.

  3. David T. says:

    Spot on.

  4. Pierre says:

    Well articulated. I do wish I could speak to someone who brought one of those banner, just to ask them what part of this violent riot they think Jesus would sanction? My fellow self-professed “Christians” baffle me a lot.

  5. Nick says:

    God separates wheat from the tares. That is not our job.there is a strong dose of judgement and Navita in your view in my opinion. I suspect there were some of our Christian bothers and sisters among those hundreds of thousands present

    • Pierre says:

      “‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When he called them they found their peace, for he is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have peace but make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. His kingdom is one of peace, and the mutual greeting of his flock is a greeting of peace. His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce all self-assertion.”

      – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

  6. nick says:

    Passion for Jesus can sometimes bring out a sword and an ear might come off. Thank God Jesus can restore that ear. Be we angry but sin not . I hear you. thanks my brothers and sisters Nick

  7. […] the world won’t go away. Whether it’s lunatics in the capitol, or a fatal car accident, or a new strain of COVID, or the soul-sucking rodeo of rancor and […]

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