Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Anyone who claims to speak for God, but contradicts the gospel, is a false teacher, a false prophet, or a false messiah. [E]ven if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:8), wrote Paul. And in fact, history has produced a long line of false teachers, false prophets, and false messiahs—some even doing miracles.
For example, Pharaoh’s magicians turned their staffs into snakes, and water into blood (Exodus 7:12, 7:22). Furthermore, the Bible speaks of a false prophet at the end of the age who will do great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people (Revelation 13:13), wrote John.
This, of course, raises a problem. If someone does greater miracles than Jesus, how do we know who to follow? What if someone else comes back from the dead? What if they are attended by angels? What if their miracles are more compelling than Jesus’ miracles? How do we know who speaks for God?
Thankfully, we are not in the dark. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God (John 7:17), said Jesus. If you want to do God’s will more than anything else, God will lead you straight to Jesus Christ and keep you there. You don’t have to be the brightest or the best; you only have to choose to do the will of God.
Furthermore, those who belong to Jesus Christ have the Spirit of Christ to guide them. [H]is sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice (John 10:4-5). My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27), said Jesus. Nothing is more convincing to a child of God than the Spirit of Christ within.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Two thousand years later, Jesus is the most quoted person in the world—and he never wrote a book! If you want to be quoted, two thousand years from now, you should at least write something down. But Jesus never wrote a sentence that we know of. And yet, he is the most quoted person ever. Who else could pull that off?
Matthew 25:14-15 Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.
Jesus did not want his followers to be idle while he was away, so he gave this parable about investing ourselves in God’s kingdom. We don’t all have the same abilities, but we all have the ability to do something. And when Jesus Christ returns, we will give an account for how we invested our lives.
The first and second servant did well, and earned their master’s approval. Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness (Matthew 25:23).
Some may have thought these servants were foolish for investing so heavily in the kingdom of God. But the servants turned out to be wise, and gained eternal happiness. They denied themselves for a while, but their investment paid off forever.
The third servant did not do as well. His ability was less than the others, so he thought it was not worth investing. Instead of doing what he could, he simply did nothing at all. But when he gave an account, His master replied, You wicked, lazy servant (Matthew 25:26).
Many years ago I worked at a factory where employees could be almost anywhere. This made them hard to track, and one was found asleep in the back of a closet. He thought he could get away with being lazy, but he was found out, and had to face the consequences.
And there are serious consequences for not serving Jesus Christ: throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), said Jesus. The servant’s lack of initiative showed he was not a servant of Christ at all. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16), wrote Paul.
Reflection and Review
Why will true believers only follow Jesus Christ?
Why is Jesus Christ the most quoted person in history?
How can we invest our lives in God’s kingdom?