Promises, promises! For the next 14 months we will be subjected to listening to promises from politicians vying for the presidency and other political offices. The presidential campaign will continue to garner the vast amount of media attention. Already, candidates on both sides of the aisle have begun their campaigns making promises to improve our lives; and as we know, many of these promises will be hard to keep.
Imagine the people of Jesus’ time listening to the Bread of Life discourse (John 6), of which we ourselves have been the privileged hearers for the last several Sundays. Within this discourse, Jesus makes several promises. He promises that if we go to him we shall never hunger nor thirst; that if we believe in him we will never die; that if we eat his body and drink his blood we will have eternal life; that he will raise us up on the last day; and that the words he has spoken to us are words of spirit and life. These are amazing, life changing promises.
Many of Jesus’ hearers were stupefied; they found his words too much to believe, and so after hearing him many of his disciples “returned to their former way of life.” Peter, however, makes a declaration of faith in Jesus’ words. He tells Jesus that there’s no way the apostles can leave him: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Hopefully, none of us would dare respond to a politician’s promises the way Peter responded to Jesus. Can you imagine a person saying to a politician, “You’ve promised us so much. To whom else shall we go? You have the words to bring fulfillment to my life!” That would be ludicrous. And yet often Christians seem to put more stock in the temporal promises of a politician than in the eternal promises of Christ.
Peter’s declaration to Jesus helps us to move beyond placing our hope in the promise of temporal fulfillment to placing deeper faith in the Lord who can bring us eternally happiness. While the Lord surely wants us to have happiness in this life, it is a happiness that can only come from having a personal relationship with him; and we will only have perfect happiness when we are with the Lord for eternity.
Politicians can promise us extraordinary things, and they might even deliver on some of those promises. But their promises cannot compare to the promise of eternal life that comes to us in a relationship with Jesus. So as we listen to political promises over the next several months, let’s keep in mind that Jesus is always faithful to his promises; and if we are faithful to him, we will be blessed to share in his promise of eternal life.