Jubilee - A Real Campaign Promise

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 1, 2012 0 comments

As you all know, we are in the midst of a season right now in the United States of America that happens about once every four years, yet always seems to be labeled as "the most important in history". In fact, I just heard those very words today from someone very close to me who I love and respect. The season I am talking about, of course, is the season of election campaigns. Honestly, the election decisions rarely, if ever, live up to the hype that is created by those words. Elections are about intentions, agendas, plans, and policies. Tell me, when was the last time that any of those things by themselves had the power to institute real change in people? It certainly doesn't stop each and every candidate from telling you over and over again how they PROMISE to change or fix the existing problems.

We all have local and state elections to deal with, but the election that receives the most attention by a long shot regardless of where you are in the country is our national presidential election. I write to you today from Ohio, widely considered one of the most important "battleground" states in this election. We have only 9 days to go before the big day and I literally just came from a rally that was held at our local university by the challengers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Just weeks ago, President Barack Obama was just up the road 30 minutes or so holding his rally at a different university. We're all inundated with constant phone calls, letters, emails, and TV ads telling us which way we should vote and why. We're subjected to the art of spin by both sides, as well as their ability to manipulate records and statistics. The focus of the debates is more about who "wins" each one in the eyes of the public and media rather than who is honest and shows good character and leadership. Don't get me wrong. I didn't bring all of this up to talk about which direction our country should go in this election. I brought it up to point out the amount of attention that we and the media pay to these men and women who make the promises that we want to hear, but are rarely able to follow through beyond their campaigns!

As I continue to hear the promises that are being made, I'm constantly reminded of something a good friend of mine said around the time of the national conventions. He said that "true promises can only be made by those who have the actual ability to carry out those promises". My friend was frustrated as countless people at both conventions PROMISED that America would be restored to its prosperity if their guy is elected, because he knows that only God ultimately would have the ability to make that happen. Now, if Romney or Obama were the Savior and thus equal with God, there would be no problem with their promises. Since we know the Savior has already come in the flesh and departed from the flesh and now lives in us through the Holy Spirit, we know that the candidates are mere men who are promising things they do not ultimately control.

There was a time when someone who many thought was a mere man stood up and made a series of promises and aggravated those around him, but he actually made promises he could keep. I'm talking about Jesus Christ in the event recorded in Luke 4:14-30. Imagine walking into church on a Sunday that seems like every other and hearing some guy stand up and read Scripture and then claim to be the one who fulfills its prophecy. In our culture, we'd probably just laugh rather than actually get mad. But the people of Nazareth (the place where Jesus had been raised by the way) actually took offense to what he had to say because of their unbelief. Jesus went into the synagogue, just as he always did on the Sabbath, and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He read about the prophet's promises of the One who would "preach good news to the poor, set prisoners free, return sight to the blind, release the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19). He then stood up and essentially said, "I'm that guy". Do you see now why the people in the synagogue (Jews who would have known the prophecies) reacted the way they did? They had known this guy and watched him grow up as a carpenter for 30 years, so he surely could not be God in the flesh! This "son of Joseph" had no business writing checks only God could cash! (v. 22)

The difference, of course, between Jesus' good news campaign and the promises made by our worldly politicians is that Jesus WAS God. The Jews did not believe that, so they were not able to join in the celebration of the promises Jesus made. He then responded by explaining from their own history in the Old Testament how God chooses to use Gentiles who are willing to believe to take part in His work rather than exclusively favoring the Jews, and challenged them to realize that their unbelief was setting them on a path to be sideline watchers in God's mission rather than players in the game (vv. 24-27). This made the people so mad that they literally tried to kill him immediately, albeit unsuccessfully (vv. 28-30). How ridiculous! You'd think they would be celebratory after hearing his wonderful promises. But their unwillingness to believe that Jesus truly was the Messiah clouded their entire picture of what was happening. Their stubbornness and unbelief caused them to miss the good news of the Jubilee!

Do you want to miss the Jubilee? Jesus promised a bunch of things in this event, culminating with his proclamation that his coming is the year of the Lord's favor (aka the Year of Jubilee as described in Katie's Monday blog and in the Old Testament passages she cited). This wasn't just a year that would come and go, however. The time of celebration was here to stay because the One who has power to keep God's promises had come. Friends, I challenge you to think about what this means for your life and how you are living the reality of it out. As Election Day 2012 is fast approaching, are you more focused on the results of a campaign filled with empty promises that are divorced from the real change that needs to take place in the hearts of the people or on the result of the promises made by the One who can affect that needed change? Don't be like the Jews. Recognize that jubilee will not come on November 7 regardless of who won the election. Jubilee HAS ALREADY COME to the whole earth because of the coming of Jesus Christ. We need only to trust and obey.