Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Fall of CreationMathew 7:13-21
“Enter through the narrow gate…beware of false prophets” vs 13-15
Deception is commonly seen in the animal kingdom as a survival tactic. Camouflage body colors help some animals to blend with the surrounding so that they tend to “disappear” for their predator or prey. Some tend to appear bigger than their actual size so that they can frighten their predators. All these are necessary for them to survive in the wild. Although we call humans much advanced than others in the animal kingdom, we see humans still have the tendency to deceive. In today’s gospel portion we see Jesus warning against the temptation to become deceptive humans and feign discipleship. Instead, Jesus encourages us to choose the difficult path of true discipleship. As a continuation of His sermon on the mount, where Jesus expounds on practical Christianity, that is, living as a Christian in this world.
The essence of the read verses can be summed up in two phrases :
1.Choosing the hard way
Jesus understands that being a genuine disciple is hard. Standing by God and doing His will is often a lonely and narrow path, filled with hardships and sacrifices. It is tempting to give up God’s way and choose the easy path that leads away from God’s will. The crowd may follow the easy way and it may be tempting to follow the crowd. But Jesus still insists that we should take up the difficult path of being true disciples - of submitting our will to God’s will.
2. Genuine discipleship known by its fruits
In Biblical times a prophet in Israel would traditionally wear a mantle of sheepskin. Jesus takes that allegory further to say that false prophets are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. False prophets had always been the bane of Israel’s history. They would give positive soothing omens for a profit instead of forth telling the will of God. And true prophets would be hated because they spoke about God’s judgement when humans strayed away from God. So often when faced with sin, it was safer and profitable for a prophet to lie and support the sin, rather than warn others to stay away from it. But such soothing prophecies would result in further straying and punishment for those who believed in them. Like a wolf causing the death of the sheep, false prophets would cause the death of those who believed in their prophecies.
The fruit of a true disciple or a true prophet is that he would speak and do the will of God. Such people bring life and healing for those who look up to them. Jesus himself chose the narrow path. He had to bear the cross for it, and today He asks to do the same.
Lord, help us to seek Your ways and Your will at all times and help us to withstand the temptation to merely pretend to be a disciple. In Jesus name, Amen.
Thought for the Day
“The life of the narrow Way walker is a life that means untainted by the ways of the world, uncompromising in faith towards God, and wholehearted devotion to the Lord Jesus...” ― John M. Sheehan, Sonnet of A Man
Rev. Thomas John
Delhi St. Peter’s MTC