Does it sound like Jesus?

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readJan 24, 2024

Recently, I’ve been thinking about public statements made by public officials and politicians who make the claim to be Christian as well as from prominent Christian religious figures. I’ve been asking myself this question — “Would Jesus say something like this?” This isn’t just an American thing either. This should be no surprise since Christianity, in spite of what Christian Nationalists claim, is not confined to any one nation.

I have found myself going to this question of whether Jesus would say the same thing as officials because I’m kind of at a loss otherwise to make sense of so many statements.

Jesus talked about welcoming the stranger. There are many public officials that treat the stranger in dehumanizing ways and as scapegoats for society’s ills. Jesus talked about caring for the poor and outcast. There are many public officials that live by a “pull yourself up by your boot strap” belief system and that outcasts are scapegoats and a threat to others. Jesus talked about compassion and caring for the least in society, love of our neighbors and our enemies. There are many public officials that seem to be oriented towards policies that rely on cruelty as a way to either punish or be a warning to anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal. Jesus talked about the idolatry of money and power. There are many public officials who see money and power as more important than people. That’s just a small handful of examples. The list could easily be expanded. And while I am not specifically citing any politician or statement here, let’s be honest — it wouldn’t be difficult to find those in a simple google search.

When I look at statements from Christian public officials and compare them with what Jesus said and did, I observe a contrast. Not something that is taking a slightly different route. Rather it seems as though the statements and policies are in direct opposition to what Jesus was talking about. And often this makes me wonder — how can someone claim to follow Jesus and yet say something that appears to be in direct conflict with Jesus? How can someone claim to follow Jesus and at the same time promote policies that appear to conflict with what Jesus urged his followers towards?

This also has me doing some self-reflecting as well. What are the things I say and do, sometimes in the name of Jesus, that are actually in conflict with Jesus? How am I reading Jesus’ wording and then twisting them for my own convenience and to match what I want to believe? What am I ignoring because…

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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.