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Viewpoint from Colin Schofield 14/05/10

by Colin Schofield

Park Baptist Church

Promises, Promises

 Another election is over, leaving some of us pleased and others disappointed depending on how well our preferred party has done. Yet even if our party of choice has done well we may still have mixed feelings about whether we will see positive change in the years ahead. In the current climate of distrust of politicians and the political process, we may be asking whether the new government will really deliver on their election promises in the face of the many challenges currently facing the country. Will there be real change?
 dove left
The election campaign involved the politicians making promises about what they would do if elected, and we the electorate weighing up these promises.   What inspired our trust in one party rather than another? Many factors were probably involved. For example, were the specific promises believable or did they seem unrealistic? Did we trust the leader as a person? What was the past record of the party like – had they delivered on previous election promises?
God is also in the business of making promises. The Bible is packed with promises. Jesus’ disciple Peter wrote of the ‘great and precious promises’ which God had given. Many of these promises are mind-blowing. Consider this promise of Jesus, just one of the many remarkable promises he made: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.  All political promises fade into insignificance compared with words like these. Our political leaders made many challenging promises during the election, but imagine how we would react if the leader of one of the main parties promised during a TV debate that we the electorate would never walk in darkness if we voted for him because he was ‘the light of the world’. We would surely conclude that he had totally lost it
 Dove right
What, then, has led millions of people across the world, and throughout history, to believe the extraordinary and distinctive promises which Jesus made, and to ‘vote’ for Jesus by committing their lives to him? Three reasons in particular stand out for me. Firstly, the character of Jesus. As I read the accounts of the life of Jesus in the Gospels, the picture I see is not of a megalomaniac, of someone who was out of his mind, despite the extravagant claims he made about himself. Instead I see a man who was uniquely gracious, wise, and trustworthy. Secondly, the compelling case for the resurrection, i.e. that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion. I see this as validating the astonishing claims of Jesus made about himself.  Thirdly, the witness of people’s lives. Countless people have put Jesus to the test and ‘voted for change’ by turning to him. Their consistent testimony is that Jesus has delivered on his promises, and changed their lives