Mark 13:22

for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and display signs and marvels, to lead astray, were it possible, even God’s people.

for every prophet
later known
for a larger truth
than their present
could fathom

a wanna-be prophet
known in the moment
for common sense
everyone knows and fears
eventually decays

no one can wait
long enough
to tell them apart
no one can tell
one wonder from another

decisions will be made
without sufficient data
about the best available
is to over rely on
a mystery of mercy

Should “Christ” be capitalized or not in this verse? There seems to be no standard notation. It may depend on how sacred you hold “Christ” to be.

The Greek ψευδόχριστος (pseudochristos, false-christ) would tend toward a lower case translation. It seems rather fragile of his followers if Jesus is the only one who can be a designated capital “C” Christ. As a title or category, if you lose the capital, you lose the weight of how important it is to know just what is being presented. A false christ should be fairly easy to detect. The warning here is that it is not so easy to tell the marks of a Messiah. A false Christ will deceive well.

A question goes back to a previous scene when the disciples are upset that someone is healing in Jesus’ name without having paid their graduation fee to the disciple’s nonprofit foundation.

If a false Christ is doing good, do we let slide their claim of Christness? If they are false, at what point does that make a difference? Is this a theological purity trick question? Does it make a difference that this is said by Jesus instead of his disciples? Which leaves us with the question of whether this is a statement that Jesus might have believably said?

The Jesus Seminar has designated the previous verse as gray—likely something Jesus never said, but that it sounds like something he might have said. This verse and the next, according to that same Seminar, is from some other or later tradition and so it is designated a black verse. Their sense is that Jesus rejects this sort of speculation in Luke 17:20–21 and Thomas 113:2–4 and they regard that as more characteristic of Jesus than Mark’s reporting here.

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