THE FOOTPRINTS AND FINGERPRINTS OF JESUS
Jesus answered, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:4
Jesus warned that there would be many imposters in the last days. They impersonate our Messiah and make extravagant claims for themselves. They are often, unwittingly, the pawns of the devil, luring us away from the truth and into lives of ruin and loss. Their selfish and self-centred agendas blind their own eyes to the truth and motivate them to build a name and a ministry for themselves and not for their true Messiah, Jesus.
There are many preachers today who have big ministries and who seem to be authentic. They regard great crowds, spectacular ministries and inflated bank accounts as a sign of God’s blessing. But is this necessarily true? Satan is a great counterfeiter and loves nothing better than to mimic what God is doing in order to entrap people with what resembles the truth but isn’t.
What safeguards do believers have against deception? Jesus issued an invitation to twelve men and, through them, to anyone who will heed His call, “Follow me.” That demands a close association with Him, getting to know Him through His Word and through prayer. It is impossible to recognise a fake if one does not know the genuine. So, getting to know the real Messiah is the first safeguard against deception.
John the Baptist struggled with the same issue. He had certain expectations of Jesus. When he was in jail because of his outbursts against Herod for his adultery with Herodias, his brother’s wife, he, John, it would seem, expected Jesus to rescue him from certain execution. When nothing happened, he sent messengers to Jesus to ask an honest question, “Are you the Messiah, or must we look for someone else?” Strange that it was John who introduced Jesus to the world as God’s Christ!
Instead of answering John’s question directly, Jesus pointed him to His works and said, in effect, “Look at the fingerprints of Messiah in the Scriptures and decide for yourself whether I match them.” The Old Testament is the “database” for the fingerprints of Messiah. Beginning from Genesis 3:15, God has drawn a clear picture of the one He would send in His name to reveal the real God to the world. How do we use the database to check whether Jesus matches the picture drawn of Messiah in the Old Testament? The New Testament writers themselves show us how He matched the Prophetic fingerprint.
A second way to check on Jesus’ authenticity is to look at His footprints. This symbolises His walk in the world. In what ways did He accurately represent the Father? His claim to be one with the Father was not just empty words. He did and said only what He learned from the Father through intimate communion with Him. He was a mirror image of the Father, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. In His High Priestly prayer He could claim in the presence of God, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.” John 17: 6.
Those who claim to be true representatives of Jesus are obligated to be accurate imitators of Jesus. He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart...” Matthew 11:30. Any minister or ministry that flaunts itself above the Master is false – even if it presents the truth, because it does not represent the disposition and character of Jesus.