On Sunday, it being the first Sunday in Advent, mention was made of looking forward to Jesus’s second coming, amongst many things, something Graham will be speaking on in a couple of week’s time.
When sitting on the grass of the Mount of Olives with his disciples one day, looking down across the Kidron Valley towards the Temple, Jesus alerted them to the dangers of deception. The whole chapter of Mark 13 is about the signs of the End of the Age, and how, if we don’t stand firm, we could so easily be deceived by false messiahs and prophets (v6 and v22). Jesus was very emphatic:v5 “watch out that no-one deceives you”, v9 “You must be on your guard”, v23 “So be on your guard”, v33 “Be on guard! Be alert”, v35 “Therefore keep watch”, v37 “Watch!”
Luke’s version of the same story in chapter 21 urges us to “Watch out that you are not deceived”, “Be always on the watch”, “Be careful”, “Stand firm”, “Be always on the watch and pray….that you may be able to stand”
But regardless of whether we are near the End Times or not, I’ve been aware again recently of just how much we deceive ourselves; how we justify ourselves loudly and self-righteously, drowning out the quiet promptings of Holy Spirit; excuse and compromise; do the ‘right’ things but ignore our true motives, and generally confirm Jeremiah’s appraisal “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (17:9).
Let’s find our own Mount of Olives and have a grass moment with Jesus – ask him where we are being deceived – what to do about it – and then stay on Full Alert, full-time!