As the November elections approach and difficult choices confront us, we would do well to think about Jesus, the King of kings and perfect ruler of the nations. He is not an unreasonable standard for judging candidates for American political office because He is the standard to which God, who establishes and judges all the rulers of the earth, will hold them.

It is an ancient tradition to view rulers as shepherds of their people. In John 10, Christ calls Himself a Good Shepherd and shows what that means for good government.

We see first that a good political leader is not one who seeks to be served, but one whose chief desire is to serve. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). When we hold some sort of power over our neighbors (as parent, manager, or senator), even the best of us find it tempting to serve ourselves even at the expense of those we govern, to serve our selfish interests rather than the common good. But that’s the definition of tyrannical government, and the opposite of the way Jesus governs.

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