I was studying this morning in the book of Matthew after listening to an awesome and inspiring sermon last night at church.
The verse that called me back was Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
I pondered this verse again and again.
"if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
If It Were Possible...
I don't know why that just caught me. I had not been able to let it go since I read it last night.
IF it were possible...
Jesus is speaking in this verse, and the verses proceeding and following this particular one about the Tribulation. In verse 22 of that same chapter, He declares, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened."
And I thought as I read these words again and again how much power is in that little word...
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
How will the elect not be deceived?
They know His voice. His Word IS His voice. It is alive and vibrant and speaks to us clearly, IF we choose to listen.
There are so many today that distort the Word of God, changing it to support growth or whatever excuse they decide to use. Pastors that see the way of truth but, knowing it is not the popular way, they conform and in the end promote themselves above the Gospel.
John 10:11-14 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
It is not possible to be deceived if you know his voice.
Which brought me this morning to the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
Before the sun had even risen, Mary was there. When she reached the sepulchre the stone was rolled away. She ran back to tell the disciples what she had seen.
Peter and John ran back to the sepulchre, Peter entering first, followed by John. They saw the linen clothes and the napkin used during the burial of Jesus and they left.
Mary was grieved.
She stood outside the sepulchre weeping. She finally convinced herself to peer inside. But, this time there were not only burial clothes-there were also 2 angels-one sitting at the head and one sitting at the feet where Jesus had lain.
In John 20:13 they said to her, "Woman, why weepest thou?"
And I compared Mary's reaction to this experience to what my own would have probably been. Here she is, in the graveyard, at the first light of day, looking inside an open tomb, and there are two angels. They apparently speak to her at one time.
Mary's reply was probably much different than my own would have been. She answered, matter-of-factly "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."
And with that she dismissed the angels, intent on finding the body of her Lord.
As she turns, Jesus is there, although she thinks he is a gardener. He also asks her why she is crying adding "whom seekest thou?"
Mary implores Him to tell her where He is laid so that SHE can take Him away.
At that moment Jesus says, "Mary" (vs.16) and she knows exactly who He is. No doubt in her mind.
In that one word was the answer to every question she had. All He had to do was call her name.
She was not deceived, she knew the voice of her Master, her Rabboni.
Something broke in me this morning as I read that account I have read so many times before. I don't know if it was just her devotion, the fact that she had gone to the graveyard before daylight to tend to her Master, or the fact that when Peter and John saw He was truly gone they turned around and went home.
Not Mary. She stayed, she wept.
Even the sight of two angels did not deter her from her need to find Him. I could feel her desperation, sense the depth of her need to find Him, and I wept because I have felt that need too.
At an altar, years ago, I looked for Him. I had been searching everywhere I knew to look, trying to find my way to Him.
And, when my own desperation reached its height, He was there, calling my name.
I am not content to listen to the voices of this world that say they come in His name, but they do not.
I am not satisfied with churches that say "He is here, come and see!" Yet, He is not there, His Word is not there, His voice is not heard.
But, there is a way clearly defined in the Word of God.
And one day, maybe sooner than I think, He will call again. I am listening for His voice, waiting for Him to call my name, as He calls me home.
I want to be ready. How about you?