Trump should have taken lessons in leadership from Jesus

White House

I don't know if I am the only one to have sensed the irony in the 'organised chaos' in Washington last week coinciding with the Day of Epiphany, the Christian festival which commemorates the moment the Magi finally found the one born to become King of the Jews.

It really is an amazing story although the reality was very different to the sentimental tear-jerking versions we often encounter in traditional nativity plays. There is no mention of 'three' wise men in Matthew's account, for example, and they clearly didn't find Jesus lying in a manger.

But I couldn't help noticing that there is a very strong parallel between their visit and the amazing scenes we witnessed in the US. It can be summarised this way: both depict a desperate power struggle, and as we know the current one is still far from over!

It's been obvious for a very long time that Mr Trump was determined to hang on to power whatever the result of the election, although I guess few predicted he would go as far as he did. But that's the problem with power: it can corrupt us infinitely more than we ever think possible. It prompted the President to behave in a way that has led to his impeachment and it caused Herod to issue an executive order to have innocent children executed.

Now, there are those who have questioned whether Herod would have ordered the death of children on such a scale, but such an action was very much in keeping with Herod's character. He was no pantomime prince; indeed the very opposite was true.

Herod had a large number of people executed or assassinated, including members of his broader family and even some of his own wives and sons. As the Roman Emperor Augustus famously quipped: "It is better to be Herod's pig than son," knowing that as a Jew, Herod wouldn't eat pork!

We often forget just how subversive the Christian gospel both was and still is. For Herod it was a direct challenge to his authority, just as it was for the Roman emperors. For when we talk of Jesus as the 'Messiah' or 'Lord' we are basically saying that we owe Him our ultimate allegiance. This is exactly what the wise men were acknowledging when they bowed down and worshipped Him.

Sadly, in their desire to see Christian values preserved in their country many, American Christians seem to have fallen for a narrative that this election would be stolen, and therefore had been stolen, despite the lack of evidence to the contrary. Their behaviour is a salutary reminder, if we ever needed it, that it's very tempting to reject evidence when it doesn't fit in with our plans. People of faith are not without fault when it comes to this kind of behaviour.

Jesus offers us an alternative way to live – and to govern. He rejected adulation and power, and embraced a lifestyle that was characterised by humility and sacrificial service. He refused to become a revolutionary hero who embraced the way of military strength, and chose to die the death of a despised slave.

For many that was a sign of weakness, even defeat, but Christians now know that the wise men were right to acknowledge His kingship because God raised Him from the dead. And in so doing the Magi (however many of them there were) became the first of countless millions who have acknowledged Jesus as their King down through the centuries.

And thankfully we can look forward to the day when even rulers as powerful as King Herod and Donald Trump will publicly acknowledge it, whether they find that palatable or not.