Word for Today – Matthew 24:4-5

Beware of Empty Promises

I hit Matthew 24 and thought I had stepped into the daily news cycle at FOX News Channel. Destruction, wars, rumors of war, nation rising against nation. I chuckled nervously. Torture, death, betrayal, lawlessness. The list continued.

However, I must admit that I almost busted up laughing when I read about people claiming to (or perhaps even acting) like the Messiah. That certainly broke the tension of the moment, because, whether or not people blatantly claim it, there are those who certainly think they are the remedy for whatever ails the world. So much so, that I wonder if we are going to be so desensitize when the real lawless one arrives on the scene that we don’t pay him any attention.

Several years ago I was watching a much anticipated event in Washington DC when I actually heard someone say that the Messiah had been born. This individual went on to indicate that the supposed Messiah was born on his birthday. Given the context and the way in which this announcement was handled, one was left to assume that this speaker thought he was the Messiah. Hmmm.

This is just one man, but what about others? What about politicians or world leaders? My observations tell me that these people promise things and act like they think the sit in the control room of the universe. In defense of some, they stop short of claiming to be the Coming One, but that doesn’t always prevent them from promising things only Jesus can deliver. Maybe the world needs fewer “promise-me-the-moon” politicians and more common-sense statesmen.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus sounded the following warning:

Beware that on one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead you astray. (Matthew 24:4-5 NRSV)

Don’t think politicians are the only ones spouting off empty promises or acting like they are the ones who hung the stars in the sky. It’s everywhere: schools, families, movies, print media,  news, and Internet. You name it, and empty promises abound!

Jesus warned us that the world would face scary things like war, and nation rising against nation. He didn’t get as specific as health care and the frenzy of global warming-type catastrophes, but they can be scary whether you believe they are real or you fear the consequences of society acting on them.

Along with these cries of doom and gloom, Jesus reminds us there will be those promising things they cannot deliver: “I am the Messiah!’, “I can fix it”, “Trust me, I’ll take care of you.” Of course these are empty promises when spouted by mortal man.

However, we can trust the promises of Jesus. He’s the real deal. He already told us we would experience scary things.  He is not taken by surprised as he looks down on this crazy place called Planet Earth. He’s not surprised, so neither should we. He told us all these things in his Word. He also told us that, “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). That’s a promise we can hold on to. And, as a result of that promise:

the “good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14).

Sounds like there will be a few bumps in the road between now and that day of proclamation, but if we hold on to the words of Jesus, we won’t be fooled by false messiahs and their empty promises.

Word for Today: Beware of empty promises and hold on to the truths Jesus offers.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 9:52 pm and is filed under Matthew, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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