I'm growing weary of the argument that Jesus' advice via the Sermon on the Mount isn't applicable to our situation because the politics of his day were so different from ours, i.e., since democracy wasn't available to him, all he could do to confront injustice was to teach his disciples to counter Roman Imperial rule by turning the other cheek. If first-century Palestine had enjoyed a democratic form of government, then Jesus' teaching surely would have been different: join the political fray, get elected, and do some good for a change.
I beg to differ.
Jesus could have joined the party of the Pharisees (even he admits he's closer to their teaching than any of the other sects, see Matt. 23), endeared himself to the movers and shakers in Jerusalem (remember, he showed great promise when he was a wee, little lad, Lu. 2:41ff), get elected to the Sanhedrin (think of how much help Nicodemus would have been to Jesus' political career!), and effect the kingdom of God by working within the system.
But he didn't do that. Why not? To many Americans, it would appear that he missed his chance to "make a difference" in the world. But, that's okay. Even he said his kingdom is not of this world. When are we going to learn?