The room is quiet apart from the scribbling of pens and the occasional rustle of a turned page. It must be examination time again.
Tests, exams, quizzes, oral, written and now online as well, are so much part of school life. We assess to see what students have learnt and how effective our teaching has been. When we leave school, college or university there are now reviews of our work and workplace.
In the last few generations testing has broken out from the confines of school and has wheedled its way into all sorts of places. Even kindergartens are getting into the act!
Some Christians even have this view of God – the Chief Examiner. They believe that when Jesus returns we will have the oral exam to beat all oral exams. I once heard a sermon in which the minister explained that when we get to Judgement Day a video of our lives and thoughts will shown and God will use that to judge us. Apart from being the worst home movie ever, is this really going to happen?
There is a story in Matthew 25 of the sheep and goats and the dividing of them into two groups – a metaphor for God’s judgement. But the “exam” has already happened. The exam was our life and even then, not how good or bad we were. After all, Paul reminds us that we have all fallen short. (Romans 3:23)
In Matt 22 with the story of the wedding banquet, we are further reminded that whether we are a sheep or goat depends on how we responded to the King’s invitation – and even then, as we find our after Matt 25, the King’s son completes the exam for us with a perfect score which we could never have attained.
There is an exam, or should I say, there was an exam but it was completed 2000 years ago. To receive the perfect score all we need to do is to place our trust in in the one who achieved it. Then it is ours too.
In the meantime, my students are still scribbling away because, unlike God, the school system doesn’t work that way.