“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.’ Mark 13:4-5 (NIV)
By now it is becoming clearer that Jesus knew things that we don´t. His followers have witnessed many a marvelous work where Jesus changed people´s condition of health or He said that things would be changed and they were. He tells someone they will be healed and they are free to go. Things will be as Jesus says. So when our Savior makes a reference towards future days that we must still live through, does curiosity take over? Do we look for a moment to get close and hear what He will tell us? Do we come and sit down with Him to listen to what He has to say about days before His coming?
Jesus starts His instruction and insight towards our future with a warning. He says “Watch out that no one deceives you.” Why would He say that? Have we not followed Him this far? Have we not demonstrated that we understand His teachings? How could He direct His warning to us? Surely He is warning someone else!
Would it be tragic if Jesus´ words ARE for us and we brush them off on someone else? Could our temporary ease of mind somehow let us down one day? What if they were for us? What if Jesus had intended to warn us, but we let His words fall to another person? Would we have secretly been deceived?
We watch carefully and listen as Jesus instructs His Disciples. He gently and carefully leads through the signs. In the next verse He continues by telling of many people coming in His name. Our Lord states that many people will be deceived. Why does our Savior not just drop the subject and get on to more exciting signs of the times? Why does He keep reminding us of this deceit? Do we get a sensation once again that we should be cautious? If there is a threat of even ourselves being deceived, what can we do? Should we stop and have a look? Could we pause to examine our hearts? Should we let His light fall upon us? Should we take the question to Him for answers?
The instruction and warnings that follow may give us a good insight into what to expect. They may help to prepare us. They may show us the urgency of the moment in which we live. They can open our eyes to the fact that God is working out His Master Plan right in front of our eyes? We should see that we have front row seats to the greatest show of power and love. But if we are deceived, what will our part be in the outcome? Should we have lost some of the importance somewhere along the way, where will we stand on that great day?
Would it be safe to say that Jesus´ warnings should be for us? Might we be better off if we could swallow our pride and that comfortable feeling? Could we rather examine our hearts daily with our Lord? Should we look not to our accomplishments and decisions but look to Him? Could we forget the progress we have already made and strive to be even closer? Should we spend more time sweetening our relationship with our Savior instead of looking for our signs in the world around us?
Dear Jesus, we are curious to know what is coming up for us. But little will knowing help us if we are not close to You. Please draw us close enough that distractions have no opportunity to deceive us. Fill our eyes and our hearts so full of You that we are all-consumed with You. Please occupy our time, our desires, our efforts and our attention. If we can be that completely focused on You, then nothing will get between us. Please guard us from looking too long in any other direction than to You. Let us make a new and determined effort today to come near and NOT be deceived.