“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.”Matthew 7:15, NLT
Recently a busload of people from Long Island, New York drove to Washington to protest their newly elected representative for the 3rd Congressional District. These protestors hand-delivered petitions to the House of Representatives offices, including the Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s, who Tuesday confirmed House ethics complaints have been received.
At the heart of the complaints was the fact that the person they thought they were voting for was not, in reality, the person they elected and sent to Washington. Various investigations showed that they had been lied to about his ethnicity, education, the purported death of his mother, and his claims that crimes were committed against him, including theft of his shoes on 5th Avenue in full daylight, and death threats. All false!
Jesus’ warning about false prophets immediately follows his statement about two gates or roads. Jesus wanted the crowds to be discerning about whom they trusted as teachers. Some teachers or prophets only appear to be true – convincingly so. Paul warned that even Satan parades as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing have been a common danger since the creation of mankind. In the creation narrative, Satan appeared to the first humans and concocted a part true, part false, story to give them. They fell for it.
Paul warned the Galatian church of false teachers who had infiltrated their fellowship. He says, “…even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!” Galatians 1:8.
When Moses was speaking to the crowds of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land, he warned them specifically about false prophets. Moses defined them as those who prophesy something that does not, in fact, turn out to be true. Deuteronomy 18:15-22. We are warned about being gullible from very early in the Bible. Like those who believe QAnon. Like those who went to Dallas to see a resurrected John Kennedy appear in Dealy Plaza.
Liars have always been a part of human society. However, alert people do not have to be prey to them. Jesus’ warning to the crowd about wolves, was his way of saying, “Don’t believe everything you hear.”
Prayer: You taught us that you are the embodiment of truth, O Jesus. It is frightening that your disciples would make themselves vulnerable to those who want to disorient and deceive by telling half-truths or outright lies. Please help us to be vigilant and committed to truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.