We in the Northeastern US got a first hand look at the word pictures Jesus uses to close the Sermon on the Mount. You probably saw pictures in the news of the devastation at the Jersey Shore.
Here is what Jesus said:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall. ~ Matthew 7:24-27
This is a powerful parable. I have heard it explained pretty consistently as follows:
The house is your life, and the rock is Jesus, so you have to build your life on Jesus by asking Him to be your savior, and believing these things about Him, and then when life gets difficult, when you go through trials, you will stand firm and be strong no matter what life throws your way.
[I might ruffle some feathers here – so only proceed if you can read with grace, and an open heart]
That is not exactly how I read this parable.
Let’s break it down:
The house – I am ok with this representing your life.
The Rock – well – Jesus is the Rock, but in this context, specifically the Rock is His words (the red letters as it were.) Jesus is of course the Word made flesh. He said:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. ~ John 6:63
So Jesus is the all-powerful Word of God, who is Spirit, manifest, made flesh. Jesus is the exact representation of God, His will, His ways, His plan. In Jeremiah chapter 1 we have:
Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it. ~ Jeremiah 1:12
Jesus is the performance – demonstration of God’s heart, God’s will, the Word of God.
So here we will settle on the Rock being the Word of God.
Building your house on the Rock would be living a life marked by DOING life according to this Kingdom paradigm Jesus has been detailing for these last three chapters.
You may say to me, “Ben, You can’t be saved by works, there is nothing I can DO to attain favor with the Lord. Jesus did all the work.” And this is borne out by scripture over and over again.
So how do we puzzle this out?
Do our actions matter at all?
Is the DOING Jesus requires simply to believe?
Or is the DOING actually the result of belief?
How do we know that Jesus believed in the Father – or perhaps it would be better to say - trusted the Father? His life expressed the Father’s will. Jesus’ life was a demonstration of the will of the Father, because at every turn Jesus looked to Him for direction. He said of Himself, I can do nothing of myself. I only do what I see the Father do, I only say what I hear the Father say.
Have you ever pondered the contrast between Paul’s “I can do all things” and Christ’s “I can do nothing?” Make no mistake – they are saying the same thing – because Paul finishes his sentence “through Christ” and Jesus’ finishes “without the Father.”
This is a life built on the Rock.
James had the gall to call us out on our works.
But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ~ James 2:18
I don’t want you to go into an introspection tailspin – but if the Holy Spirit is tugging on you because there are things He wants you to walk in – just DO it – go for it – don’t be afraid.
If He gave you stuff to do, it was because He created you to DO it. (see Ephesians 2:10) There are good works He created you for. He prepared the works, and if He is tugging on you, He has likewise prepared you. [Tweet This]
Come back tomorrow, and we will take a look at what storms the parable holds.