Where the world comes to study the Bible

Lesson 9: Prophecy, Perfume and Passover (Mark 13:1-14:42)

Related Media

Day One Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 13:1-37.

The disciples get a glimpse of the future, beyond the cross and grave that Jesus was already telling them to expect. We’ll cover this sermon of Jesus in 5 parts. We may not know the when and the how. But, there are specific things we can know. At the end of each section, we’ll focus on what those are.

1. Discover the Facts, Part 1: Focus on vv. 1-8.

  • What did the disciples see (v. 1)?
  • What did Jesus say to them (v. 2)? Note: this destruction took place in 70 A.D.
  • Where were they sitting now?
  • What did Andrew ask?
  • What is the first thing that Jesus says in response and why (v. 5)?
  • Summarize what He says in vv. 7-8.
  • How are we to respond to these bad events?

What We Can Know #1: Conditions on this planet are not going to get better but worse! We can forget about the idea of world peace until Jesus comes back.

2. Discover the Facts, Part 2: Focus on vv. 9-13.

  • What will happen to Jesus’s disciples (v. 9)?
  • What must happen before the end comes (v. 10)?

Scriptural Insight: This is the responsibility of every generation of disciples (Matt. 28:19). “Must” (Gr. dei) indicates divine necessity. God wants this to happen, and it will happen. This verse is not a promise that if disciples will preach the gospel to all nations in a particular generation, God will then begin the kingdom. Man cannot bring in the kingdom by the universal preaching of the gospel. God will bring it in at His appointed time. This is not a promise that everyone will become a believer in Jesus, either. (Dr. Constables Notes on Mark 2017 Edition, p. 189)

  • What are they not to do when they are arrested and why (v. 11)?
  • What is the warning in vv. 12-13?

From the Greek: “Saved” in v. 13 comes from the Greek word sozo, meaning “to be kept safe, to rescue from danger or destruction.” Rescue comes from the persecution ending, by death, or by Jesus’s second coming. This is not a salvation verse; it is an encouragement to persevere.

What We Can Know #2: Persecutions and betrayals will affect Christians until Jesus returns. He’ll give us strength to endure them plus words to say, and we are not to live in fear.

3. Discover the Facts, Part 3: Focus on vv. 14-23.

Mark skips over the destruction of Jerusalem that Matthew and Luke include. That was a taste of future desolation. Read Luke 21:24. We are in the “until” time, “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Jesus finally answers their question from v. 4.

  • What is the one sign they will see and recognize? See also Daniel 9:25-27.
  • What are they to do when that happens (vv. 14-16)?
  • On whom will this time be especially hard and why (vv. 17-18)?
  • What did Jesus say about this calamity (v. 19)?

Think About It: Since WWII was worse than the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we know that this tribulation hasn’t happened yet.

  • Why has God limited that awful time of Tribulation to just 7 years (we learn this from Daniel and Revelation)?
  • What can happen to Christians during that time of distress and waiting (vv. 21-22)?
  • So, what should you do to protect yourself (v. 23)?

What We Can Know #3: This great time of worldwide massive tribulation hasn’t happened yet. The destruction of Jerusalem was not the worst that had happened before or even since that time. It is still to come.

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Two Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 13:24-37.

We will continue to cover this sermon of Jesus.

1. Discover the Facts, Part 4: Focus on vv. 24-31.

  • Following that distress, what signs will show in the heavens (vv. 24-25)?
  • At that time, what will everyone on earth see (v. 26)? See also Mark 8:38.
  • What is promised in v. 27 to give us comfort?
  • What is the lesson of the fig tree (vv. 28-29)?
  • What is the promise in vv. 30-31?

What We Can Know #4: Jesus is physically coming back to planet Earth, and no one is going to miss it this time. We just don’t know when. What does Jesus mean by “this generation?” It could be the Jews. It is probably not a number of years. Luke 21:24 tells us that the Jews will be scattered worldwide at that time.

2. Discover the Facts, Part 5: Focus on vv. 32-37.

  • Who determines the time for the Tribulation and the Second Coming (v. 32)?
  • Can we figure it out (v. 33)?
  • What can we do or should we do while waiting?
  • Why stay alert?
  • What is the job of the door keeper in the parable Jesus told in vv. 34-37?

What We Can Know #5: Jesus leaves His disciples here with certain responsibilities. To them and to all of us, He says, “Stay alert. Watch out that no one deceives you. Be doing my work daily.”

3. Many people missed Jesus’s first coming. Will anyone alive miss Jesus’s second coming? Even if asleep? How do we know? Give verses from this sermon.

4. The word translated “watch out” means “to see and discern.” Jesus tells them to watch out for deception several times in this sermon (Mark 13:9, 23, 33, 35, and 37). What is the danger of deception?

Think About It: A disciple’s greatest danger is not war, not calamity, not persecution, or even betrayal. It is DECEPTION. Deception affects the direction our minds are going and where our bodies follow.

5. Heartbreak to Hope: You are to “watch out that no one deceives you” from following Christ. What are you tempted to follow more than Christ?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Three Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 14:1-11 and John 12:1-11.

1. Discover the Facts: Jesus was spending time with His friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Something beautiful happens.

  • What did they religious leaders want (v. 1)?
  • But not when (v. 2)? Why?
  • Where were they (v. 3)?
  • What did Mary do (v. 3)?
  • What was the disciples’ emotional reaction and why (vv. 4-5)? See also John 12:4-6.
  • Look at Jesus’s response to them (vv. 6-9). List all that He said about her to His disciples.
  • What happened next (vv. 10-11?

2. What did Jesus mean by “she did what she could” (v. 8)?

3. Heartbreak to Hope: The same thing that Jesus said about Mary is true for you. Think about your daily work where you are using your resources, God-given temperament, opportunity and love to honor and worship Jesus. In what ways can it be said of you, “She did what she could?”

Read Mark 14:12-26.

4. Discover the Facts: Jesus introduces to His disciples a way to remember His sacrifice in what is called “The Lord’s Supper.” We know it as communion.

  • What day is it?
  • What did the disciples ask Jesus (v. 12)?
  • What are Jesus’s directions to them (vv. 13-15)?
  • That evening, how did Jesus shock the Twelve (v. 18)?
  • What is their response (v. 19)?
  • What does Jesus declare next (vv. 20-21)?

Think About It: John 13:27 says that Satan entered Judas who then left. Jesus warned him but that didn’t stop him. Throughout the Bible, God warns people of their actions before they take them. That’s His love and grace. Yet, many ignore His warning.

  • What does Jesus do in v. 22?
  • What does He do in v. 23?
  • What does He say about drinking from the cup? See also Jeremiah 31:31-34.
  • What does He promise them (v. 25)?
  • Most of John 13-17 takes place between v. 25 and v. 26. What did they do afterwards (v. 26)?

Think About It: Each of the disciples thought he was capable of betrayal (v. 19). The world is full of betrayers. Betrayal will happen, but woe to the one who allowed himself to be used.

5. Heartbreak to Hope: Have you been betrayed by a friend? Read Hebrews 4:15-16. Jesus understands how you feel about betrayal and everything else you experience in life. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Him for help to overcome the hurt you feel and wisdom to know what to do about that relationship.

Scriptural Insight: Although Jesus Christ is now in a glorified human body in Heaven, He is with us by means of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Gods Empowering Presence” in our lives. That is what He is and does. He enables us to feel God’s love for us, and He fills us with hope that God is at work within us and for us according to His promises. When we are weak, He carries our prayer needs directly to God the Father or God the Son and then works in our lives according to what is needed for us. At times of crisis, we can have confidence that our God both hears our need and is acting upon it on our behalf.

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Four Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 14:27-31.

1. Discover the Facts: Jesus shares words of caution to His disciples.

  • What does Jesus tell them (v. 27)?
  • After that, what will happen (v. 28)?
  • What does Peter declare (v. 29?
  • How does Jesus answer him (v. 30)?
  • What is Peter’s emphatic response (v. 31)?
  • Was he alone in saying this?

2. Read Luke 22:31-32. How did Jesus pray for Peter?

Read Mark 14:32-42.

3. Discover the Facts: Jesus understands how we feel when we’re about to face something awful. He’s been there.

  • Where did they go?
  • What did Jesus say in v. 32?
  • Whom did Jesus take with Him (v. 33)?
  • What did He begin to feel and why?
  • What does Jesus tell them about how He feels (v. 34)?
  • Then, what does He ask them to do?
  • What did Jesus do (v. 35)?
  • What did He call God (v. 36)?

Focus on the Meaning: “Abba Father” is expressive of an especially close relationship to God. It is informal and intimate, similar to saying, “Daddy.” We can call God “Abba Father,” also. See Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6.

  • What does He say about God?
  • What does Jesus ask?
  • What does He say in submission?
  • What does He find when He returns to the disciples (v. 37)?
  • How does Jesus warn Peter again (v. 38)?
  • Read Luke 22:43-44. What was happening to Jesus during this third time of prayer?
  • What does Jesus declare to His disciples in Mark 14:41-42?

Think About It: The words of Mark 14:42 are words of courage. Through prayer and God’s strengthening, Jesus is prepared for the battle ahead. He chose God’s will, which included suffering. No Christian ever chooses suffering. She should choose God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.

4. Heartbreak to Hope: Peter, like the rest of the disciples, made a vow of good intentions. Good intentions are just that—intentions—until you make them intentional actions. Our natural humanity cannot follow up on good intentions. We must pray and trust in Jesus to help us turn good intentions into intentional actions.

  • What good intentions have you promised or planned to do but have not followed up with intentional actions?
  • What will you trust Jesus to do in your life to help you carry through with at least one of those good intentions?

5. Heartbreak to Hope: Reflect back on this whole lesson, how did someone experiencing heartbreak, pain, or uncertainty find hope, healing and love?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

[For additional insight in understanding Mark 13, read the following essay, “Avoiding Deception Trails.”]


Avoiding Deception Trails

To many of us, the Bible’s prophetic teaching about the end times is like a wilderness—remote, hard to access, and challenging to navigate. The more you get into it, the more you feel lost. Just as there are many trails that cross in a wilderness, there are many beliefs about prophecy. After a bit of study, it all begins to get more complicated, like Jesus’s teaching in Mark 13. But, it’s really not if we stick with what we can know:

  • What We Can Know #1 (vv. 7-8): Jesus said conditions on this planet are not going to get better but worse! We can forget the idea of world peace until He comes back.
  • What We Can Know #2 (vv. 9-13): Persecutions and betrayals will affect Christians until Jesus returns. He’ll give us strength to endure them plus words to say, and we are not to be afraid.
  • What We Can Know #3 (vv. 14-23): This great time of worldwide, massive tribulation hasn’t happened yet. The destruction of Jerusalem was not the worst that had happened before or even since that time. It is still to come.
  • What We Can Know #4 (vv. 24-27): Jesus is physically coming back to planet Earth, and no one is going to miss it. Isn’t that good news? We just don’t know when.
  • What We Can Know #5 (vv. 33-37): Jesus is leaving His disciples behind with certain responsibilities. To them and to all of us, He says, “Stay alert.”

While studying this passage, I was struck by how often Jesus warns His disciples to “watch out,” “be on guard,” and “stay alert.” 8 times. Why? Stay alert to what? I looked at all His teaching and concluded that a disciple’s greatest danger is not war, not calamity, not persecution or betrayal. It is deception. That’s Jesus’s warning to them and to us as He says in Mark 13:5, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

What Deception Does To Us

Deception affects the direction our minds are going and our bodies follow. That reminded me about hiking a trail in a wilderness. You can probably imagine that hiking in a beautiful mountain setting can be delightful. Or, it can be downright frustrating when you can’t find your trail because a signpost is misleading, or three trails appear where there’s only supposed to be one. You may take a trail that seems right only to find that you have been deceived.

I think that danger of deception is very real to us today. The further we get into the last days and the more complex society gets, the easier it is to be deceived. In an instant, you can get information from myriads of websites or apps and dozens of channels. How do you know if that information is true or not? How do you know when your mind is being manipulated to believe a deception?

For 20 years, my husband Ron directed a wilderness camping ministry, often including our family. To prepare for a backpacking trip, we’d diligently study the map for the topography and the trails to plan our hike. In a wilderness, there are lots of trails. Among all the trees and valleys, they look alike. If you don’t check your map and compass and can’t see over the next hilltop, you can’t be sure if a certain trail is going to take you where you need to go. To effectively navigate the maze of trails, a hiker must rely on their map and compass. Those are the knowns.

Have you ever considered our Bible to be like a map? It gives us an aerial view that includes the right trail following Jesus as well as all the wrong ones. And, like a compass needle always points to the north, the Holy Spirit is our compass, always orienting us to Jesus and His way. Without relying on our map and compass, we are vulnerable to being deceived. At least 33 New Testament verses warn believers about being deceived or led astray.

The night before His death, Jesus prays for His disciples to be protected from the evil one, meaning Satan, the deceiver and father of lies. Because this is what deception does to us:

“But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Deceiving us is one of Satan’s best means for making us ineffective at pursuing Christ completely. We put all our energy going in the wrong directions. Let’s call those deception trails.

Deception trails are anything that wastes our time, energy and money by sending us in a direction away from our responsibilities as a disciple that Jesus mentioned in Mark 13. These are: 1) knowing Christ and following Him only and 2) being His witnesses as we let Him live His life through us. When we choose to make certain mistakes, we become vulnerable to deception trails.

Let’s all assume the role of a hiker now. What mistakes can cause a hiker to follow a deception trail?

Deception Trail #1: Ignore The Map And Compass And Go By How You Feel.

Years ago, our church youth participated in the wilderness activity of orienteering—a sport using a map and compass to navigate between fixed points. In a beautiful Colorado setting, one student was chosen to be group leader. The first task in orienteering is to turn the compass so that the needle lines up with the N on the compass dial. Then, you follow the instructions to go to the right or to the left so many degrees from that heading. Well, the teen ignored the N and lined up the compass needle with the S instead. Though feeling confident in the direction, the student led the whole group 180˚ opposite from where they should have hiked.

What’s the deception? It’s okay to ignore the map and compass, go by how you feel, and still end up where you want to go. Do any of these statements describe you?

  • I feel I am not good enough for God to love. Or else He wouldn’t let bad things happen to me.
  • I feel like I have to still earn His approval by working harder or being better.
  • I feel like some of my sins are not forgivable.
  • If it feels right, it must be right.

These statements all deal with emotions. Emotions can distract us because they are responders. They will line up with anything we want them to match, just like the teen’s compass needle lined up with the S instead of the N. Relying on how we feel about something rather than on the Bible and the Holy Spirit to guide us makes us vulnerable to being deceived.

Do you feel like some of your sins are not forgivable? Let’s see what our map says about being forgiven:

“And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

God forgives us completely when we trust in Jesus Christ. All of our sins were future at that time.

Do you have trouble feeling that God loves you? Let’s see what our map says about God’s love for us:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

God’s love is unconditional, that means regardless of our imperfections, because we belong to Him through our faith in Jesus.

Even if you don’t feel forgiven or loved, start with acknowledging the truth because God says it’s true. Write those verses on a card and repeat them to yourself every morning in the mirror.

For example: “God completely loves you, ______________________, and you are totally forgiven for all your sins—past, present and future—because of what Jesus did for you. God’s Word says so.”

That’s applying God’s Word by faith to your life.

Or, take any other emotion that seems to be running your life—fear, worry, anger, or impatience. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you find a scripture that teaches truth. Repeat it to yourself, believing it.

Let your emotions respond to God’s Word. They’ll line up eventually since the Holy Spirit, the true compass, lives inside of you guiding you to Bible truth, never opposite of it. So, if you feel you are not forgiven or loved, that’s not the Spirit’s voice. That’s emotions distracting you from relying on your map and compass.

In what areas of your life do you rely on emotions rather than on the Word and the Spirit to guide you? How does that affect your being His witness?

When we rely on emotions, can we be an effective witness? Who else would want to join us in feeling that they aren’t good enough for God to love? That not all of their sins are forgiven? That’s not very good news, is it?

Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” That includes ourselves! To avoid an emotional deception trail, rely on the map and compass to pursue Jesus’s trail!

Here’s another deception trail mistake.

Deception Trail #2: Thinking Great Gear And A Great Body Make For A Great Hike.

Before going backpacking, I’d walk every day for a few weeks with a partially filled backpack, wearing in my boots, and figuring out how much I could carry—a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food, and water. You might think that having great gear and a great body will guarantee a great hike. NOT SO! Hikers with very expensive boots still get blisters on the trail. Hikers in perfect physical shape wearing top of the line trail clothes still get altitude sickness.

For a successful hike, you must plan where to set up camp, where to get water, and what to do in the midst of heavy rain, hail and lightning. You need to know where the trails lead and where you want to start and end up. That’s pursuing the important things. Otherwise, you will have a miserable hike regardless of how good you look because you will be at the mercy of the weather, the wilderness, and other people.

See if you can find the deception in this magazine quote:

The answer to weight loss, emotional fitness, and life balance is to get selfish…Schedule time for your workout, meals and snacks for the entire year. Include time for massages, manicures, meditation and whatever else pleases your senses and makes you a better or healthier person. Before you know it, you will shed pounds, become fitter and look better than you have in years. You will become healthier and, most of all, you will become happier. (Larry North, “Get Selfish,” Looks magazine, Jan/Feb 2006, pp. 6-7)

What’s the obvious deception? Getting selfish will make us better and happier. If we have better gear (such as a nicer home, newer car, stylish clothes), we will be happier. If we have a better body (slim, wrinkle free, big boobs), we will be happier. Is that true?

Okay, we only have one body, so we should want to take care of it. It’s the biggest ministry tool we have. And, I like nice stuff around me just like you do. But, that desire for great gear creates a stronghold on us.

In today’s lesson, when the calamities come (Mark 13:15-16), Jesus warns disciples not to go back for a cloak or other belongings. Why would they do that? When we invest in stuff, we want to hang on to it, don’t we?

But, will getting selfish with our body and stuff help us follow Jesus only and be His witnesses? Probably not. Will it make us happy? We might get enjoyment, but it’s no guarantee for happiness.

Referring back to the quote above, the more serious deception is that pleasing our physical senses is worth making it a priority in our lives so we will be strong enough to get through life. Is the culture telling us to energetically pursue the lesser things? Come on now. Schedule your meals and snacks for the entire year?!

Think right now of those things that fill your days. What do they reveal about what you consider to be priority in your life?

If we truly believe that knowing Christ and following Him, being His witness in our world, is our priority, it would show in how we spend our time, energy and resources. We have all these things demanding our time or things we want to do. We need to predetermine what will take priority before we’re bombarded with others’ demands. Or, the lesser things will dominate.

We can ask Jesus to help us prioritize our lives. Because we have seen Him do that already in Mark. He knew how to say, “No” to some things, even good things like teaching and healing crowds of people, so He could spend time on the important things—prayer with His Father and building relationships with His disciples.

Ladies, if we are going to be selfish about anything, let’s be selfish about giving ourselves permission to spend time with Jesus in His Word and prayer. I agree with Mr. North (magazine quote above) that we need to plan based on our priorities. How long does it take to eat a snack? 10 minutes? So, why not plan a 10-minute spiritual snack every day for a year? Wouldn’t that be a better plan to pursue?

Take what fills your days and divide it up between what is truly important as a follower of Jesus and what is not. Ask yourself: is frequent time with God and His Word just as necessary to functioning effectively in my life as going to the gym, running errands, and whatever else that could fill your free time? Or, is it optional? Can you give yourself permission to neglect a few things such as doing the dishes or checking email until you get time with God and His Word done?

No matter what age or situation in life, we all have time to do this Bible study lesson each week. It’s hard at first to make yourself do it. But after a while, you find it delightful and hate missing that time. I can testify to that. It’s our time with Jesus in prayer and in the Word that strengthens us to face our turbulent world. Sickness, job loss, storms, fires, and conflicts are all part of life. Having a great body and great stuff does not guarantee endurance through trouble. Denying myself and following Jesus does. Here’s what our map says:

“So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.” (Eph. 4:14)

Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” That’s anything or anyone claiming to be more important than Him in your life. So, to avoid pursuing the lesser things, rely on the map and compass and pursue the important things in your daily hike following Jesus.

Deception Trail #3: Assume All Signposts Are Accurate.

Another mistake we can make while hiking is to assume all signposts are accurate. Jesus warned His disciples twice in Mark 13 about listening to other voices instead of His voice. We’ve just seen one voice calling out to us. What other kinds of tricks is our culture doing to influence our thinking?

And, how does our response affect those around us? Very few of us hike alone. We usually hike as part of a group—whether 2 or 20.

In the Pecos Wilderness, a hiking group reached an intersection of two trails. The signpost had rotted at the bottom and was twisted, but the group didn’t know that. Instead of getting out their map to check, they saw that the sign read “Pecos Falls.” That’s where they wanted to go so they just took off the way the sign pointed. Half an hour later, they realized they were going uphill and not downhill. Falls are at the bottom of a ridge, not at the top. They got out the map and retraced their steps. Heading in the right direction rewarded them with the enchanting sight and sound of cascading water.

But, what if they had continued on that wrong trail? Everyone in the group would have gotten way off course, spending lots of time and energy climbing uphill, and no one would have seen the beautiful falls.

There are some cultural signposts that are misleading, maybe even rotten at the bottom. They keep us from being effective at following Jesus. Here is just one of many—this one particularly aimed at women. See if you can recognize the deception in this quote:

“So now that women don’t need men to reproduce and refinance, the question is, will we keep you around? And the answer is…you know we need you in the way we need ice cream, you’ll be more ornamental…” (“Are Men Necessary?” by Maureen Dowd, quoted on CNN, October 31, 2006)

Those are cultural voices. What messages are they calling out to us? Women are superior to men. Children don’t need fathers because women are sufficient in themselves. Men can’t be trusted because they are imbeciles. We are fed this garbage continually—on TV, in magazines, in books. That is a deception. But I think the greater deception for us is that it really doesn’t affect us as Christian women. Yet, does it? Are we immune to these lures?

I ran across this story, which I think is very telling:

“Several years ago, at a Christian women’s retreat I attended, a discussion about the differences between men and women deteriorated into scathing stories about the inadequacies of men. Over bowls of popcorn and mugs of chocolate, we recklessly devalued most men we knew until a visitor commented, ‘Wow! I was afraid you’d all be into that submission thing! Am I glad to know you’re open-minded. You know, I often wonder if God is a woman. It makes sense if you really think about it. Men are such imbeciles.’” (“Male Bashing: Is it trash talk or harmless humor?” by Ida Rose Heckerd, Todays Christian Woman, January/February 1998)

When we listen to other voices besides Jesus’s voice, we can be unconsciously drawn into behavior and thinking that is very ungodlike, something we really don’t want to do. The more we listen to that “deception,” the more accepting of it we are.

We women have laughed at men’s quirks for years. And, vice versa. But now, the culture makes it easier for us to get drawn into ridiculing the men in our lives, to think that we women are the only ones who can be trusted.

I bet you can think of a time within the last year or two, maybe even the last month, when you’ve been drawn into that kind of conversation in a small group.

Let’s follow this deception to its logical conclusion: there is an expansive revival of Goddess worship in our culture—either worshipping some kind of mythological female or worshipping the goddess within us. This kind of thinking appeals to women who are angry with men. And, they look at Biblical Christianity as male-domination. So, they say, “Let’s make God female” and “Let’s rewrite Christianity.” We’re seeing this happen all around us.

Paul warned in 2 Timothy that a time will come …

“…when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 4 And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

What cultural voices are calling out to you? How do you protect yourself from this kind of deception trail and others like it? Let’s ask Jesus to help us be good doorkeepers of our minds and mouths. Just because books, music and TV shows are labeled “Christian” or “family-oriented” doesn’t mean that they are good for us. I have chosen not to watch certain shows because I don’t like the way men are portrayed and how the women treat the men. I am too impressionable! And, I’ve been a Christian for more than 40 years. I know myself. If I listen to that kind of stuff, it’ll get a foothold in my brain and come out of my mouth. I have to protect myself from that influence. And, I bet you do, too.

Here’s what our map says:

“Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

“You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

The bottom line is this: don’t let other people’s thoughts be a replacement for the Bible. Always check what people are telling you with the Scriptures. I love what is said about the Bereans:

“These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

They made that a priority and so should we. Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

An important trail rule is for hikers in a group to stay within sight and sound of the leader. It’s the best way to keep from getting lost or left behind. As believers, we need to stay within sight and sound of Jesus’s voice, which are the Bible and the Holy Spirit within us. When we don’t, we make ourselves vulnerable to following a deception trail. So, rely on the map and compass to follow signposts that also rely on the map and compass!

The Rewards Of Following The Right Trail

About 20 years ago, Ron and I got off the train in the middle of nowhere to hike in the Weminuche Wilderness of southwestern Colorado. Our goal was Chicago Basin where a group of campers was waiting for Ron’s encouragement and guidance after having several very rough days. I went along for the fun. Fun?! The trail climbed 3000 feet in 6 miles following a cascading river. To me it looked like it was straight uphill. It was the hardest hike I had ever experienced. I kept wishing I could turn around, go back to the hotel, sit in a hot tub, and be comfortable. 

After several hours of tenaciously sticking to the right trail, following our map and compass, I was greeted with a massive display of wildflowers in a bowl-shaped setting formed by 14,000-foot peaks around it. The beauty was glorious! Though very weary and sore, it was worth staying on the right trail. If you are a hiker, as long as you know you are on the right trail, then steep climbs and slippery descents are not as discouraging. You prepare to face the dangers and challenges for the joy of completing the trail.

We don’t know what’s ahead for us as 21st century Christians. But, we know we can face anything described in Mark 13 if we stay alert and effectively follow Jesus and be His witnesses as He lives His life through us. The effort of the hike will be worth it. Especially when we see Him in His glory.

Reflect and Respond

What changes do you need to make today to keep you alert to deceptions and to rely on your map and compass so that you can hike Jesus’s trail effectively?

Related Topics: Gospels, Women's Articles

Report Inappropriate Ad