Today’s devotion comes from Matthew’s account of what you read in Mark 13 yesterday. In the twenty fourth and twenty fifth verse Jesus says “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance”.
There is a huge difference between a good tested quality product and a cheap knockoff version. The same is with Christ but even more so. Jesus warns his disciples and us that there will be people who claim to be God’s real messiah and savior. Jesus is telling all of us don’t be fooled. I want to highlight 2 aspects of Jesus’ warning.
The first is notice the plurality of “Christs” and “prophets”. There have been and will be multiple people who seek to deceive people and other Christians. This had a very real meaning to the first century church. Before the time of Jesus and after him there were multiple Jewish men who claimed to be God’s real messiah. And even in our time there have been many who have claimed to be God’s special prophet or savior.
The second aspect of this warning I want to highlight is that Jesus says that signs and wonders will accompany these false prophets and Christs. It’s easy to dismiss someone as crazy if they claim to be a prophet or Christ but what if miraculous events accompany their claims? What are we supposed to think!? Remember that there is a supernatural enemy that opposes God, Jesus, and Christians. For every miracle God performs a counterfeit miracle can be performed by Satan and spiritual darkness. An example of this can be found in Exodus 7.8-13. There must be other factors we must take into consideration such as – does what the person say align with scripture? Is God glorified?
Though we probably will not encounter someone who will say, “Follow me, I’m the savior of the world” it doesn’t mean that there aren’t false teachers who teach false doctrine. We must always be critical of the teaching that we allow into our lives. Remember to test EVERYTHING against the scriptures. Whether it comes from your friends, your pastor, or even your parents. The best way to avoid deception is a two step process: one, know what the scriptures teach, and two, test everything against the scriptures. If it conforms with scripture receive it. If it doesn’t conform with scripture, reject it.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 24
Tomorrow we will read Matthew 25