And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Messiah’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Messiahs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. ~Jesus
Source: Mark 13:21-23 (NASB)
Who should we worry about? We live in a time where there are many impressive religious leaders. The power of radio, TV and the internet bring them into our world any time we want. Miracles abound including prosperity around every corner. Apparently the poor will be no more in the Kingdom of Mammon (aka money) promoted by the modern church.
What is God’s goal? Jesus challenges us, here and in other places, to be careful. It is possible for religious leaders to pull the wool over our eyes. We should know better. Jesus has warned us.
Jesus warns us in advance. Several things to think about are:
- How much do our religious leaders talk about Jesus and what Jesus had to say to us in the four gospels (aka Good News)?
- Do they often proclaim, proudly, that Jesus has already come, in the flesh, and died for us, was resurrected and sits at the right hand of God?
- Do they talk about God’s country (aka Kingdom) and Jesus being in control?
- Do they understand the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant?
It is not so much about being able to pack an auditorium and perform miracles. Miracles are important but the evil one can do them as well. It is about proclaiming the good news of Jesus. Jesus came with a mission. This passage suggests some additional criteria to evaluate a ministry. How much do you hear about the items underlined?
“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Jesus. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”