By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The calmness and clarity Jesus continually utilizes when speaking about issues of great concern is truly amazing. The anxiety and worry that would grip the average person appears to be absent from Jesus’ mind. Jesus just finished prophesying about the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:1-2) and His disciples were full of questions.
Matthew 24:3-4 (NIV): As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? ”Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you”.
Why did Jesus immediately warn His disciples to be careful that none of them are deceived? It is likely Jesus understood the fear riddled throughout the disciple’s questions. When fear and self-preservation is our concern, we will likely listen to anyone telling us exactly what we want to hear. When love and faithfulness is our motivation, we will tell each other what we need to hear, even if it is not what we want to hear.
Matthew 24:5-6 (ESV): For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
Jesus could not make it any clearer, “you will be hated by all” because of your faith. But if you stress about the trials you will endure, you will run away and do anything to preserve your life - including betrayal of friends and family.
Matthew 24:9-10 (NKJV): “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another”.
I am reminded of Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:28-33). He was doing well before he started to lose his faith and sink into the water. Jesus does not want us be anxious or overwhelmed by anything, but to trust completely in him through prayer and supplication. The moment we finish praying, we should be confident whatever happens after that “must take place” and should not “alarm us”.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV): Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.