Lesson 47 of the Discipleship Making process.
I left you last time with these questions, “Have you ever been misled by someone before?” and “What could you have done to prevent being misled?”
The main purpose of the Olivet discourse appears to be foretelling future events. But in reality, Jesus uses it to keep His disciples from being misled about the future, especially the events surrounding His second coming. In both the Temple Mount and Olivet discourses Jesus begins answering the disciple’s questions by warning them, “see to it that you are not misled.” Knowing that deception will come and to keep His disciples from being misled, Jesus leaves very specific instructions for them to follow when they observe certain events occurring.
Read: Matthew 24:4-5, Mark 13:5-6, Luke 21:8
Being misled deals with the issue of leadership. An individual is misled when he follows or listens to someone who is not his leader. On the previous day Jesus taught His disciples a lesson (Lesson 45 - Part 2) about leadership. He instructed them not to be called leaders, rabbi (teacher) or father. Each of them was responsible to 1) follow Jesus, the Word of God, 2) be taught by the Holy Spirit and 3) be servants of their Father in heaven alone.
Having begun His discourses with the words “see to it that you are not misled”, Jesus is quite aware that His statement has raised some common questions in the disciples’ minds. As He continues the discourses Jesus answers their anticipated queries:
- Who would try to mislead us? In previous teachings Jesus had warned his followers about deceivers: wolves in sheep’s clothing (Lesson 23). He had addressed false prophets and false teachers (Lesson 17 - Part 1) but now reveals a new threat yet to come: false messiahs (Christs).
- Why would we be following them? Jesus explains that many people will come claiming to be the Christ, who is sent by God. Within one hundred years of Jesus’ death one group of people, the Sicarii and three individuals laid claim to the title of Messiah. And in the 500-year span from 1500 AD to 2000 AD more than forty people have claimed to be the Messiah.
- How will they try to influence us? Since people are always concerned about the future, Jesus said that these false messiahs would be declaring, “The time is near.” In other words, the end is near and judgment is coming.
- What should we do? Jesus said, “Do not go after them.” (Luke 21:8)
- Jesus, since you are concerned that we are capable of being misled, then how will we recognize the real thing? This is the crux of the matter so He spends the rest of the discourse explaining how they will know.
Until next time . . . Godspeed!