And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.”
In the context of this verse, Jesus is talking about the End Times and His Second Coming and connected events. There is, however, a larger premise here.
There are going to be folks who will try to mislead me. They will teach things that will sound true. They will say things that undermine my faith in Christ or that just plain confuse me. I need to be wary, lest these people succeed in their attempts to deceive.
There will be others who are simply in error. They will not deliberately deceive me, but they will be walking down the wrong path and I will be misled if I follow them. I need to be on my guard lest I follow them down the wrong path.
There will be still others who will teach as doctrine the things of which the Holy Spirit has been convicting them. Some will be convicted that they cannot consume certain types of media and will attempt to force their limitations on others’ freedom. It is one thing if we, as stronger believers, lay down our freedoms in order to preserve our brethren — and we almost all have the opportunity to do so in some area. It is quite another thing if we feel that God has condemned something which He has quite clearly not — like eating certain types of food or wearing cosmetics or jewelry. I can be misled into thinking that what the Spirit has convicted by brother of is doctrine when it is not. I need to be on guard lest I fall prey to a legalistic way of walking.
This, I think, is why Jesus never once told us to follow anyone but Him. His invitation was, and is, and always will be: “Follow Me.” Too many times, we get caught up in the personality of a particular teacher or leader and we stop following Christ to follow that person. We will, almost invariably, find that we have been misled. We stop reading Christ’s own Words and praying that the Spirit would open them to us and rely on others to tell us what God said and find that we have been misled — whether by deception or by that person’s burgeoning understanding being poorly communicated.
I must follow Christ in order to avoid being misled. All other leaders can and probably will mislead me.