January 08, 2018

Claiming to Be the Messiah

Acts 5:33-39

Some time ago Theudas appeared. . . . After him Judas of Galilee . . . led a band of people in revolt.

—  Acts 5:36-37

The Bible mentions various lead­ers who claimed to be the Messiah. Our verses for today describe a couple of them. Some wanted to start a political revolution and win freedom from Caesar and the Romans. Speaking about revolts like these as well as a time of great distress before his second coming, Jesus himself warned, “False messiahs and false prophets will appear,” and some of them will try to deceive many with “signs and wonders” (Mark 13:22).

But only Jesus is the true Mes­siah. He fulfilled the ages­-old promises of the Old Testament. Like Moses leading Israel during the exodus, Jesus left Egypt (Matthew 2:19-20), sustained the testing of the wilderness (4:1-11), taught his listeners new commandments (5:21-48), calmed the chaos of the water so that his disciples could safely reach the other side (8:23-27), fed his followers with new manna (14:15-21), and supplied his people with promised rest (11:28). He also promised eternal security for those who love him (28:20).

Those same blessings and more are available for you and me. We are delivered from our ­slavery to sin. No temptation can overwhelm us. Jesus travels with us through trying times, gives us daily nourishment, shows us how to live abundant lives, and provides rest in the midst of our busyness.

Are you experiencing these gifts of love and grace?

Lord, thank you for your presence and your gracious love and care, both now and forever. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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