Matthew 7:22-29 (CEB): On the Judgment Day, many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name and expel demons in your name and do lots of miracles in your name?’ Then I’ll tell them, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you people who do wrong.’
“Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock. But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed.”
When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he was teaching them like someone with authority and not like their legal experts.
In this passage, Jesus is talking about a firm foundation for life. Not life in the world to come. No. Life now. This whole sermon (that started way back in chapter 5) is about practical daily life here in this world. And it’s not just about belief (as we saw with yesterday’s reflection). It’s about doing. Apologies go out to my neo-Calvinist friends. There is work to be done regarding following Jesus. In the first two paragraphs, Jesus made mention of our actions: ‘Get away from me, you people who do wrong’...Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice...But everybody who...doesn’t put them into practice...’ The teachings of Jesus are a way of being human that reconciles God’s creation. It’s not only about spiritual things. Notice the first paragraph is all about doing spiritual things. But that alone is not enough. To be truly human, to be fully human, we have to live reconciled lives in all of life - at home, at work, at school, etc.
We see in the second paragraph that walking in The Way - being people committed to living the way of Jesus, of being Jesus in the world - is the only sure way of living and being. It is a firm foundation; the only foundation.
Also notice that living The Way does not guarantee one a life free from issues. Jesus was clear that there are storms in life. The key is how we are prepared to handle them. If we have built a way of living that is based on our own way of doing things, of thinking that our way is best, then, when the storms of life come our way, our world will come crashing down around us. But here is an important point - we aren’t destroyed, but our way of living is. Even when we blow it and want to do things our way, the Gospel is all about God coming to our aid even then. As someone recently said, the Gospel story ends with resurrection, not Golgotha. In the Gospel, there is always hope. Even when the ‘house’ is ‘completely destroyed’ we can start over. God is there to help us begin again. God’s unfailing love and compassion are renewed every morning (Lamentation 3.22-23 CEB).
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC