As I understand it Nigel Farage would prefer to talk about ‘a contract’ not ‘a manifesto’ because the word ‘manifesto’ seems to be associated with “lies”.

It’s probably an astute use of language given Sir John Curtice’s latest findings. This election guru’s report for the National Centre for Social Research has shown that record numbers of voters are saying they “almost never” trust governments to put country before party or politicians to tell the truth when in a tight corner.

All of which got me wondering which word I would use when talking about the ‘Jesus Manifesto’ we find outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. Given its radically counter cultural nature I think I would go for ‘challenge’ or better still ‘vision’.

And before anyone is tempted to suggest that this is just Christian naval gazing it’s worth remembering that as far as Christians are concerned the ‘election’ is already over and the result has also been declared.

For by raising Jesus from the dead on the first Easter Day, God announced to the world that Jesus is the King of Kings and everyone needs to take His teaching seriously.

That means we need to look at our characters for example for if we want to point out other people’s faults we should begin by focusing on our own. We are to choose our words carefully too.

Calling someone ‘a fool’ for example is simply unacceptable, and we should be so trustworthy that oaths can become redundant.

As a former chaplain to the late Queen once said oaths are simply ‘a pathetic confession’ of our tendency to do anything but ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’.

We are to take our social responsibilities seriously because Jesus is looking for followers who will be the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’.

In other words, instead of complaining about the state of the world they will ‘get stuck in’ and do all they can to improve the world they live in.

Negatively this will obviously mean pointing out the things that are harmful but on the positive side it will mean doing as much good as they can trusting that ‘every little helps’.

It’s also worth pointing out the very clear difference between a traditional political manifesto and Jesus ‘Vision’. A manifesto obviously appeals to our innate self-centredness.

It says, ‘Vote for us because of what we will do for you’.

Jesus turns that on its head – as you would expect – because He seeking to attract followers who will do all they can to enrich other peoples’ lives, disciples who are conscious of the blessings they enjoy and are keen to share those blessings with others.

The late John F Kennedy summed this approach up well when he said, ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

This challenge is as real for us as it was for those who heard him say it in the early 1960’s.

Now this kind of vision is so contrary to our innate self-centredness that it deserves to be described as more than counter cultural.

In fact it is nothing short of revolutionary but Jesus wants us to know that it’s the way to get the most out of life.