Reading the Word
Matthew 24:23–28 (ESV)
23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Parallel Texts: Mark 13:21-23; Luke 17:23-24
Understanding and Applying the Word
In the days and years leading up to Jesus’ return to this earth, there will be many who will make claims that he has already come when he has not. There will also be those who claim to be him. Jesus warned his followers so that they will be on their guard and not fooled by such false claims. He assured his disciples that when he returns it will be a highly visible event that everyone will see. It will be on par with lightning flashing from the east all the way to the west. It will be known. It will not be a secret event.
Throughout history, there have been false claims by those who say they are Jesus and there have been false teachers who have made the claim that Jesus has already returned, but people missed it. Jesus’ words in today’s reading assure us that he has not returned. We have not missed it. Jesus will come again in the future for his people and it will be a grand event that everyone will know about.
As Jesus’ followers living in today’s word, our responsibility is to continue to proclaim the Good News of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We must continue to proclaim that Jesus has promised to return for his people and to judge evil. We do not know when that day will be, but we know it is future and it could occur at any moment. We must be ready.
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