Matthew 24:4-5

What deception should we be watching for? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today we continue our look at the Olivet Discourse. The disciples have just asked for the sign of the coming of Jesus, which we discussed what that means, and the destruction of the temple. From here, Jesus will go into a judgment motif. There’s not going to be any rainbows and kittens in this chapter. Here comes the judge instead.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.

There were plenty of Messianic claimants around the time of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Now for a lot of Muslims, the only way you can come forward and claim “I am the Messiah” is to go out and explicitly do just that. They say the same thing with the deity of Christ. Christ in the Gospels very rarely explicitly said He was the Messiah, but His actions were constantly speaking that that is how He saw Himself.

We could easily say anyone willing to raise up an army and try to liberate Israel was claiming to be the Messiah. This could be the figures mentioned by Luke in Acts 5 or the unknown Egyptian referenced in the book. It could also include Simon Magus mentioned in Acts 8 who was later seen as a heretic who claimed to be the divine power.

Today, we have a number of people who are claiming to be Jesus. This is not referring to people who are in insane asylums, although they certainly do qualify as people claiming to be Jesus. There are famous people who claim to be ministers and are claiming to be Jesus. Note that that can go on and it still doesn’t mean that this wasn’t fulfilled in the first century. All that’s required is many, and I have mentioned four and those are just the ones that we know about who are most prolific and make a statement by their actions.

This doesn’t mean that these people will claim to be Jesus, but Jesus still warns His followers to be on guard. We should be as well. In our day and age, it’s quite easy to be fooled not just by Messianic claimants, but, well, most anyone. Too many in our churches do not have discernment on any of these sorts of matters.

I am someone who is actively interested in politics, but let’s remember that no political figure today, as good as they might be, is the Messiah. A few years ago my father-in-law and I were out at a Subway together traveling and having some lunch. He asked me what I think it will take to turn our country around. I told him that we have to be sure that the Gospel doesn’t need America. It will last just fine if America goes down the drain. America does need the Gospel, however.

The way to save your country if you live in the West, and if you live anywhere for that matter, is to be Jesus in your country. Of course, I am not saying to be the Messiah, but you are to be a representative of the Messiah. Live in such a way that people will see the work of the Messiah through you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters