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Daily Devotional for December 18

December 18                                             Matthew 24:15-31

Jesus predicts many false Messiahs, saying, "For false Christs
and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders,
so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." Indeed, the
Acts of the Apostles records at least three false Messiahs,
Theudas, Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:36-37), and "the Egyptian."
(Acts 21:38)

We may be tempted to scoff at those who are gullible enough
to follow these false Messiahs, but as William Shakespeare
wrote in Hamlet, "The devil hath power to assume a pleas-
ing shape." If the truth be told, we are all prone to follow
false hopes.

False prophets are not only called Theudas, Judas of Galilee,
and the Egyptian; they are Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Marcos,
Pinochet, Duvalier, Long, and many more. Many political
figures through the ages have promised peace and happiness,
some even using the name of Christ to validate their claims
to power.

But political leaders aren't the only false Messiahs we may
follow. Sometimes we are tempted to put our hopes for salva-
tion in charismatic religious or spiritual leaders. Sometimes
we are tempted to look for salvation in stocks, bonds, real
estate, or investment portfolios. Sometimes we look to movie
stars, rock idols, best-selling authors, sports heroes, or spell-
binding public speakers to provide us with a sense of well-
being. Sometimes we see our Messiah in fads, ideas, or
movements, in material possessions, positions, or power.

Today's Gospel message is clear and unambiguous: the real
Messiah, the only one who can bring true happiness into our
lives, is Jesus. Only Christ can guide us through those times
when our heaven and earth are shaken and there is nothing
to hang on to.

        True Messiah, help us to follow only you! Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989  

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