And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
To take heed means to see and discern, and it means to discover and understand. So we are not relieved of our personal responsibility to take heed and examine what we are hearing and seeing for ourselves just because someone is using the name of Jesus or proclaiming that they are sent by Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” In the New Testament the veil has been rent and we have direct access to the LORD God of all heaven and earth and while we may have a pastor or teacher that we listen to and study under, we still have a personal responsibility to ensure our relationship is with Jesus Christ because He is the one who died for us.
Take heed lest any man deceive you. The funny thing about being deceived is that you are wrong but firmly believe that you are right. That is a most difficult thing to move away from and overcome. Paul said take heed lest any “man” deceive you. Of course he never said we have to worry about Christ deceiving us because only Christ is deserving and worthy of our total devotion, love and unquestioning trust. Christ Jesus did not come to this earth and die a death of crucifixion for me so that He could deceive me and play some kind of game with me. I can trust Him completely! So when I ask the Lord to guide me and show me the truth I can then trust Him to do so. He died for me.
If our trust is in a human being we can be deceived. The deceit doesn’t even have to be intentional. Human beings are sometimes sincerely wrong. It is my responsibility to maintain my own relationship with Jesus Christ and to find the path He has set out for me to follow through this life. How do I do that? Simply by giving my life to the one who died for me and asking Him to lead me and guide me in His ways. Then trusting Him even when things aren’t going the way I thought they should or the way that some human being is telling me they should go.