14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’[a] standing where it[b] does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.
20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
It is a word of somber caution. It is not the “Gentle Shepherd” who soothes us as he speaks to us. It is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, warning of what is to come – and warning we must be faithful.
I don’t know about you, but these words make me more than a little uncomfortable.
On the other hand, that is how he intended them.
Physicians, delivering essential, life-saving diagnosis, don’t mince their words. Their “bedside manner” may leave something to be desired.
But it is how they save their patient’s life. That is, if the patient listens.
So, uncomfortable or not, we are given a choice. Listen to the false prophets, the soothsayers, the ones who always make the message we want to hear easy to swallow.
Or listen to the one who can save us by calling us to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The choice is ours, and ours alone, to make.