The most popular Bible app is YouVersion. It’s possible you have it on your phone - the brown Bible icon with the words “Holy Bible” on it. In 2019, users read over 40 billion chapters on the app and the verse that was most shared, highlighted, and bookmarked was Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This invokes the same theme as the most popular verse from 2018 (Isaiah 41:10: Do not fear, for I am with you) and 2017 (Joshua 1:9: Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged). I relate. I struggle with worry and anxiety and fear.
And as we get ready for 2020, a year in which another
Presidential election will take place, I am anxious about the discourse in our country. I am not worried about who will get elected; rather, I am concerned about the willingness of the Church to be counter-cultural during the election season - to remember that we are citizens of another kingdom, one that is not of this world and one that neither Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or any other candidate is leader of. I am concerned because I have witnessed Christians enter into the mud-throwing so common in American politics. I am concerned because in weak moments I have gotten caught up in it myself. These next 11 months, I want to remember that I have pledged my allegiance to Jesus and that the kingdom I live in has one Savior and He is neither Republican nor Democrat.
Luke begins the 3rd chapter of his Gospel by writing: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”
I was always taught that Luke did this because he was a historian and wanted to provide a reliable timeline, but
recently I heard a preacher put a new spin on it - He said: “In the year of 2019, when Donald Trump was president—when Greg Abbott was the governor of Texas—when Betsy Price was the mayor of Fort Worth—and Francis was the Pope of the Catholic church, the word of the Lord came out of the desert.” This has a different sound to it, a different meaning. Maybe it’s what Luke was actually going for. Luke begins his story reminding us that it’s not about any elected or royal person; instead, it begins with an unkempt outdoorsman shouting from the desert. And Luke says, that’s where the word of the Lord was heard.
I hope we can remember that this year. As we hear platforms and promises from candidates, I hope we can remember that word of the Lord comes to us from the humble and meek and poor in spirit. That in the incarnation of Christ, God “has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).