Have you decided who to vote for yet? What influences your view?
I am not going to suggest who I think you should vote for. That is a decision that only you can make. I have, however, been wondering who Jesus would vote for.
One of my favourite portrayals of Jesus is in Luke’s gospel. It is here that I feel we get a real sense that Jesus stands up those who are poor, oppressed and marginalised because of their culture. He shows compassion for women, sinners and outcasts.
Standing up for those in the minority
We hear throughout the gospels that Jesus healed the blind, the sick, those who were paralysed. He did not reject those with leprosy, a cruel disease that meant that people were isolated from their friends and family for the rest of their lives.
There is a “special section” in Luke’s gospel. These are stories that are exclusive to Luke. The parable of the Good Samaritan is one that immediately strikes me. If you are familiar with this parable you will know that it is not who we would expect that helps the person in need. It is, in fact, someone from another culture: a people who are despised by the Jews.
The Samaritans were marginalised by the Jews and considered to be unclean, even though they worshipped the same God. And yet this Samaritan looked after an unknown Jew who had been robbed and beaten. The priest and the Levite turned the other way and ignored the injured man.
Keeping our wealth to ourselves
In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus warns us not to store up our wealth for our own benefit, for it will be too late to enjoy it when we die. Rather, Jesus would like us to store away treasures that are important in our everyday lives, such as being compassionate and caring towards others.
During our Lord’s time on earth, women had few rights. In Old Testament times, women were on more of a level pegging with men, but times had changed drastically. Women were mainly confined to home, and were not allowed to converse with men if they went out. Jesus, however, showed his care for women in many ways.
Jesus broke with custom by healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath day. He came under scrutiny for his actions, but was able to justify them by pointing out that his opponents would treat their animals with more compassion on the Sabbath, putting his enemies to shame.
He loves us all
In the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin we can read that the Lord will carry on searching for us, even if we have lost our way. He will not rest until we return to the fold. He loves each one of us so much that His search is everlasting.
Jesus confronted and challenged the Scribes and Pharisees: those in power who followed the letter of the laws they had constructed. They ignored motives and circumstances and did not think about the impact that this had on people around them. Jesus would not tolerate this sort of injustice.
We can also read about Jesus’ anger on finding the money changers in the temple. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” This story has such significance that it can be found in all four gospels. It was indeed lawful for the money changers to earn a living by making a profit from the money they changed. However, when people were bound to travel a long way to celebrate the Passover, the money changers cheated them by charging extortionate rates and making an excessive amount out of a captive audience.
What to believe?
Every politician puts spin on what they present to the nation. They need us to like them and to want to vote for them. It can be hard to work out what to believe, and whether what they promise can actually be fulfilled. If you are still making up your mind, ask yourself the twelve questions that can be found here. They are really thought-provoking.
What can we do? We can read the manifestos of each party. It is not enough to trust what the media tells us. We need to read it ourselves. We can think about the qualities that Jesus showed us, and of how He saw all people as important, regardless of wealth or position in society. He strove to rid our world of injustice. I pray that the government we elect will demonstrate these qualities, too.
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Political Manifestos (in alphabetical order):
The Conservative Party
The Green Party
The Labour Party
If I have missed your party out, please comment below and I will add you to the list