Saturday, August 10, 2013

Matthew 24:6

Jesus continues his sermon by warning his disciples that not only would they have to face false prophets but:
μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν πολέμους καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων· ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε· δεῖ γὰρ πάντα γενέσθαι, ἀλλ’ οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος.

Ye shall hear wars and rumors of wars. See that ye do not worry for all these things must occur, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6)

While the disciples should worry about false Christs (Matthew 24:4-5), they should not worry about wars or reports of wars (and there were a lot of wars during the Roman Empire). Wars do not signify the end. One might lose one's life in war, but not one's soul. A false Christ, however, could cause one to lose one's soul. They are the greater danger.

Note that the perspective already presumes a life after death, even a resurrection of the dead, although the first instance of a resurrection is not for another week.

At the time Christ gave this sermon, Pilate was sitting in his palace; he would be more concerned about an uprising, a rumor of war, than sorting out true and false Christs. Barabbas was probably sitting in his cell, a false Messiah awaiting trial for inciting an uprising unaware that soon he would be set at liberty by the true one.

War is a terrible thing, a wicked thing, an evil thing. It is not, however, the worst thing. It may legitimately claim our attention, but there are other things that deserve more attention.