Thursday, February 16, 2006
One of these pictures is of a Monarch butterfly. The other is a Viceroy. Do you know which is which?
The one on the left is the Monarch. The Viceroy is a mimic--a "counterfeit Monarch" if you will.
Monarch butterflies are poisonous, so birds will not eat them. A Viceroy is not poisonous and would make a bird a tasty snack. So, if it is to survive, it must look enough like a monarch to be mistaken for one.
In our reading today we hear of “antichrists”, which could be translated as “counterfeit Christs”. Much like the Viceroy, a counterfeit Christ looks an awful lot like the original.
So how do we tell them apart? Much like one might distinguish between a Monarch and a Viceroy. Learn the original well. If you really know what a Monarch looks like, you will never mistake a Viceroy for the original.
John writes, Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. 25This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!
And what is the original message? It is that the man Jesus really is the Christ, the anointed one of God to show us both what God really looks like and what God is really doing in the world. We are, therefore, to live deeply in what we were taught; that is, we are to live deeply in Christ.
Clearly there are plenty of counterfeit Christs in our day just as there were in John’s; false teachers who proclaim a Gospel different from the original which they (and we) have heard. Will be able to tell the difference?
Only if we are steeped deeply in the Scriptures and the life of prayer in which we come to deeply (not casually or superficially or intermittently) know our Lord.