Jesus and Our Politics

Richard Bauckham, The Bible in Politics (2011), 150:

The risen Jesus is our future. He beckons us forward to the goal of creation and gives all Christian activity the character of hopeful movement into the future which God has promised. Not that we ourselves can achieve that future. Resurrection makes that clear: we who ourselves end in death cannot achieve the new creation out of death.

The Kingdom in its final glory lies beyond the reach of our history, in the hands of the God who interrupted our history by raising Jesus from death. This transcendence of the Kingdom beyond our achievement must be remembered. But in Jesus God has given us the Kingdom not only as hope for the final future but also to anticipate in the present. As the vision of God’s perfect will for his creation it is the inspiration of all Christian efforts to change the world for the better.

In relation to our political activity, it is a double-edged sword, cutting through both our pretensions and our excuses. On the one hand, as the goal we do not reach, it passes judgement on all our political projects and achievements, forbids us the dangerous Utopian illusion of having paradise within our grasp, keeps us human, realistic, humble and dissatisfied. On the other hand, as the goal we must anticipate, it lures us on beyond all our political achievements, forbids us disillusioned resignation to the status quo, keeps us dissatisfied, hopeful, imaginative, and open to new possibilities.