“Jesus said to them: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you'” (Mark 13:5). “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).
It seems like rarely a day goes by that we are not lied to. We regularly (in spite of being on the “do not call” registry) receive calls from telemarketers lying to us such as beginning the call, “Thank you for your recent stay at our Hilton Resorts” even though we haven’t stayed at a Hilton (that I recall) in over 20 years.
In so many ways we need to heed our Lord’s solemn words in our first daily text, “‘Watch out that no one deceives you“. This is true in the day by day transactions but of far greater danger is the spiritual deception that blinds the unbeliever from the Truth and seeks to get the believer off the right course.
After the Triumphal Entry and just before Jesus went to the Cross He shared two lengthy teachings recorded in the Bible. All three synoptic Gospels record a teaching our first daily verse comes from, known as the Olivet Discourse, that was likely given on the Tuesday or Wednesday of Holy Week. The Olivet Discourse is so named because the Lord shared this as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives. The other lengthy teaching is found in John’s Gospel which records our Lord’s close personal instruction to the disciples in the Upper Room (John 13-17). This most likely took place on Thursday of Holy Week.
The Olivet Discourse is a long message that has a lot to say about the entire Church Age and the end times. However Jesus begins with a solemn warning: “Watch out that no one deceives you”. Deception was first introduced in the Garden of Eden when Satan planted doubt in Eve’s heart causing her to question God’s ruling regarding the forbidden fruit. All through the ages deception has abounded andstill abounds in our world today.
Since Christ gave His loving and instructive caution to the disciples many forms of deception have appeared all through the ages of the Church. And this is still true today. This may be a self-proclaimed individual or a belief system contrary to revealed Biblical truth. In my own lifetime false christs and false teachings have come and gone and surely more will be coming, culminating with the antichrist.
Today we need to not only listen but heed the words of the one and only genuine Christ. We have in the Holy Scriptures a most certain and dependable record of His life and call to each of us. This is a grave word of caution that believers all through the church age should solemnly heed: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are confronted with deception on many fronts every day, so much so, that we can be deceived without even realizing it. Would You help us to watch out and be on our guard so that we are not deceived by man’s words, no matter how convincing or how charming their personality, nor how cunning their craft. Help us not to fall for Satan’s deceptive tactics that have brought down believers throughout the church age. We seek You for strength and discipline and we search the Scriptures for discernment and the true revelation of who Jesus, the Son of the Living God, is. It is in His holy name that we pray, Amen.
Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail-Trail on Sunday.
(Click to enlarge)
(This week is known by many as Passion Week or Holy Week which covers the events in Christ’s life from the Triumphal Entry to His resurrection. We will leave the following materials up throughout the week.)
The 4 gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. Most of this material deals with the 3½ year period of His ministry. However an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels deal with the period from Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of material dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.
Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.
- Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
- Jesus Clears the Temple: Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46
- Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
- Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Matthew 21:28-23:36; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47
- Greeks ask to see Jesus: John 12:20-26
- The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
- The Last Supper: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
- Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room: John 13-17
- Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
- Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
- Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Matthew 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25; John 18:13-19:16
- Jesus is crucified and buried: Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
- The glorious resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
Worship leader: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18
Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23
Worship leader: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
Worship leader: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:15-17
Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:7-9
Worship leader: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20
Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14
All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3