Six weeks before the Iowa Caucuses open the 2016 presidential race in earnest, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz lead the Republican field nationally, but Trump trails either Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and 50 percent of American voters say they would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.
Trump has 28 percent of the GOP pack, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 24 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has 12 percent and Dr. Ben Carson has 10 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. No other candidate tops 6 percent with 8 percent undecided. But 58 percent of those who name a candidate might change their mind.
Among Democrats, Clinton tops Sanders 61 - 30 percent. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has 2 percent, with 6 percent undecided and 41 percent who might change their mind[i].
No matter whether you’ve decided, or whether you might change your mind, it’s important to know that no matter who makes it to the oval office, he or she won’t have all the answers. We elect leaders that we hope will do a good job, but government isn’t really the answer to our problems. We need a spiritual solution to the troubles that are facing society today. Politics won’t save us—God will.
In Isaiah 9, the prophet sings about God’s Messiah, the Anointed One who will shine like a beacon of righteousness. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”[ii] Isaiah’s prophecy reflects Judah’s great hope for the Messiah’s reign. The burden placed on the people by their oppressors will be broken, and their enemies will be defeated. Verse 6 says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders.” Because Isaiah used this word “government,” the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day were looking for a political leader. Verse 7 says, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.”
The problem comes when we God’s people think that the Messiah as a political leader will bring the solution to the world’s problems. Jesus came (the first time, at least) to govern the human heart, rather than to rule on an earthly throne. But Jesus didn’t come to be a legislator. (Who wants more of those, anyway?) Recently, I read about…
A fellow [who] heard about an operation which would enable him to get a new brain. He went to the hospital where the surgery had been perfected and asked the doctors what was in stock. "Well," they said, "here is an excellent engineer's brain--a finely honed, precise bit of gray matter. It will cost you $500 an ounce."
"What else?" the man wanted to know.
"This," they told him, "Is a lawyer's brain--a collection of shrewd, tricky little gray cells. It is $1000 an ounce."
"Is that all you have?"
"No," they said. "Here is a doctor's brain, packed full of anatomical knowledge. It is $5000 an ounce."
"I don't know," the fellow said. "Don't you have anything else?"
The doctors looked at each other then motioned for the man to step over to a covered container. "This," they said in hushed tones, "is a legislator's brain. It costs $250,000 an ounce."
"Wow!" exclaimed the fellow. "Why so expensive?"
"In the first place," the doctors told him, "it is hardly used. In the second place, do you realize how many legislators you need to get an ounce of brains?"[iii]
The fact is, legislators aren’t what the world needs. What we need is a Savior. Isaiah prophesies, “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” These divine qualities are far greater than anything that political parties have to offer. They make for more lasting change than any candidate could promise or deliver.
As the Christ Candle is lit to usher in the Light of the World, as the Christ Child is worshiped and adored, we place our hope not in politicians, but in the One who can make real social change. We trust in the Messiah who says:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.[iv]
[i] http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2311. December 23, 2015.
[ii] Isaiah 9:2. All scriptures taken from the NASB.
[iii] Quoted by James Dent in Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/politician.htm. December 23, 2015.
[iv] Isaiah 61:1-4; Lk 4:18-19