My first recollections of the Antichrist were from the 1970s horror film “The Omen”. I was a kid then, and such talk gave me nightmares for days. Are such threats real?
Firstly, lets nail down what a Christian might be. We can use many definitions, but theologian N.T. Wright’s characterisation of loyalty to Christ is compelling. Jews, including those in the first Century, are defined by their loyalty to the One God. This continued in the embryonic Jesus movement through their loyalty to the One God through the Messiah.
An anti-Christ – either a movement or an individual – can be defined by their opposition to the reign and status of Christ. I would hypothesise that they would be loyal to their cause too. We should be mindful of such opposition, be it veiled or in the open, and the threat that they may present to the modern day Jesus movement.
But the tone of today’s reading is not one of hopelessness or dispair. It is a reminder that such threats, real as they may be, do not have the final say. We are reminded and encouraged to continue abiding in God’s love through our relationship with his Son, Jesus. The ultimate gift to us is eternal life – a quality of life, empowered by the Spirit, and extending out into the next life. Any earthly threats that we face, no matter how large, cannot annihilate Christ’s love for us.