(Jesus said) "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:23-24
We've all heard the expression, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Not so many of us have heard the truism, "A cheap imitation is the surest way to make a quick dollar." You probably haven't heard it, because I just made it up. At any rate, I think it is still true. And because it is true the market is flooded with copies of designer handbags, Apple computers, wedding gowns, and pirated music.
According to ABC News, another product has made its way into the ranks of being illegally copied. The product: ketchup. That's right, a warehouse was discovered in New Jersey where the employees were filling bottles with a tomato product and labeling those bottles, "Simply Heinz."
They were also selling the product as Heinz ketchup. The ketchup knock-off was discovered when some of the fake ketchup bottles exploded -- something real Heinz ketchup doesn't do.
An exploding bottle of ketchup would make quite a mess and a person could get cut cleaning up the glass, but that's just about the worst damage an exploding bottle of ketchup can do. The damage is far, far worse, if you happen to have a fake Redeemer in your heart.
Before the Savior left us He warned a time would come when there would be Jesus duplicates, copycats and imitations. These individuals would claim to be Jesus, and they would do miraculous things, which would seem pretty convincing. Indeed, Jesus says they would be so good, even folks whose names are written in God's Book of Life might think of wandering.
Now the only reason I bring this up is because I'm hearing a lot of preachers who are taking the Jesus of Holy Scripture and redefining, reconditioning and reinventing Him. In Jesus' Name they are making promises about wealth, which Jesus never made; they are offering guarantees of healing, which Jesus never said. In short, they have come up with a new christ.
Folks, don't you follow that Jesus. As they used to say on the TV commercials, "Accept no substitutes." Jesus' life, suffering, death and resurrection are unique in the annals of human history. There has never been anyone like Him; there will never be another to take His place. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life and Light.
Period. End of reading.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, keep us firmly grounded in our Savior. Help us turn a deaf ear to the words of those who would woo us away from the true Redeemer. Keep us faithful, so we may be given the crown of eternal life. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries