Today’s chapter was a little hard for me to find something to talk about. Mark 13 talks a lot about the end times and the return of Christ. This isn’t something that I like to spend a lot of time on in discussion simply because people can get insane over the topic of the “End of the World”. But Jesus did say something that is important for us to remember, even not during the End.
Jesus says “false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead [you] astray, if possible” (13:22 NASB). This relates to a post I made earlier. In that post I told you to be careful about what you say. In this one, you must be careful of what others say.
Jesus knew that without him to guide the disciples (and us later on), they would fall prey to people preaching about Christ, but didn’t fully understand. Something that arose in the early church was a heresy called Gnosticism. It was a belief that the physical world was evil and should be done away with, and we should only focus on the spiritual world. This belief influenced many early Christians to the point that many of the disciples had to fight against it, and Paul wrote several sections of his letters that allude to Gnostic beliefs in the Church.
In today’s world, Christianity gets put in a bad light, which I think is sad. Yet we knew it was going to happen. Jesus warned us that we would get persecuted, and honestly, the Church has been persecuted since day 1. But today, it is because of some members of the Church, not outside influence. There is a lot of hate going around in Jesus’ name. Hate that is unfounded, because Jesus preached a life of love.
This isn’t to say that God doesn’t hate things. He does. He hates sin. Sin is very simply the act of deciding that you know better than God, and you are going to decide what is right. I’m not sure how imperfection trumps perfection, but I am even guilty of the behavior. We all are. But some of this hate goes towards the people. God doesn’t hate the sinner, He hates the sin. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NASB).
So I guess my focus for today is that we not only be careful what we say and do, but also what are Christian brothers and sisters are doing. It is our duty as mature Christians to help those who aren’t as far along as we are. We must help the world to see the love of Christ and show that love through our own lives.