Friday, August 9, 2013

Matthew 24:5

Matthew 24:4-5 are really one long sentence:
Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου λέγοντες, Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Χριστός, καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν.

Watch lest someone deceive you, for many shall come in my name saying: I am the Christ, and many will be deceived. (Matthew 24:4–5)
Two things interest me about this passage for the moment. The first is that Jesus is saying that those who claim to be Christ are taking his name. He is therefore claiming to be the Christ.

The second thing is that many will be led astray by individuals claiming (falsely) to be Christ. They will claim to be him and claim his prerogatives, but they will do so illegitimately. They will lead individuals astray. Jesus warns his followers not to be led astray.

For Christians this creates a balancing act between faith and skepticism. Setting aside those who actually claim to be Christ, there are those who claim to be Christ's and yet are not. They also can lead someone astray. In the end, Christ will tell those who falsely claim to be his that he does not recognize them or their deeds (Matthew 7:21-23). So the dilemma that leaves the Christians is: How does one know when one who claims to act for Christ is actually authorized by him?