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Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
The foundation of the Kingdom of God is an unshakable JOY that GROWS from the bottom up.
Overall Commentary: 🌎
Jesus has ended His sermon and has finished bringing order to chaos. From here on, the miracles and future teaching will be built upon this foundation. As we move forward, Jesus warns us that storms will come. However, they are not surprising to Him, and He does not leave us when they come. He works before they arrive, works while they are here, and helps clean up after they are gone. There is a catch. He expects us to do our part and follow His leading. If we will build our lives on His Word, safety is expected. If we do not, disaster will result.
Jesus says unshakable joy grows as we BUILD OUR LIVES ON HIS WORD.
Jesus is always honest with us. He tells us that bad days and storms will come. However, He prepares us long before the bad days ever come.
- Wise- This is not intended to refer to someone's intellect. It refers to someone's willingness and ability to apply the words of Jesus to their life.
- Rock- The solid rock is an example of the foundation laid by Jesus in the previous three chapters. The foundation of the Kingdom of God.
- Rain/Floodwater/winds- Because of the terrain, it was common to have massive storms during the rainy seasons. These storms could be catastrophic to the local region. This is why it was so vital to have a solid foundation.
- Bedrock- The bedrock was sometimes up to 10 ft below the surface. This shows Jesus encouraging His followers to do the hard work of establishing the foundation of their lives, no matter how long it takes.
- Foolish- This is also not intended to be an indictment of someone's intellect. It is s statement of their unwillingness to apply God's Word.
- Foolish- The Greek word is where we get the English word "moron."
- Sand- During the dry season, the sand would become so hard it would sometimes appear as hard as stone. Only by learning from others could a young homebuilder be wise and dig deep.
- Great was the collapse- During a flash flood, water and wind can come quickly. If the home is not built on a solid foundation, it can be washed away, leading to complete ruin.
- In ancient cultures, many teachers would appeal to other teachers or famous historical figures to bolster their credibility. They may say, "I know this is true because Aristotle says so." Jesus did not do this. He stood on His own authority, and people realized there was something different about Him. They had no idea.
What can we learn from this passage?
Throughout the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares the two different ways to prepare for the storms of life. One is from someone who hears His words and takes wise action, and the other is from someone foolish.
In Chapter 5, Jesus says the wise TAKE responsibility for their lives and build on the rock that brings FREEDOM. The foolish AVOID responsibility and build on the sand that brings BITTERNESS.
(Matthew 5:13-16) You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Chapter 5 begins with the definition of what a Kingdom person looks like. Then, Jesu says we have the dignity of being given the opportunity to do something about the world around us. He says we are salt and light to the world and then goes through six different ways we apply that "salt" to the world. They all have to do with taking responsibility for our lives. We are not victims. We have been given the dignity of walking out of any dark place we find ourselves. The result of this is walking in more and more freedom in our lives.
The opposite is true as well. If we build our lives foolishly, we avoid responsibility at every turn. It is easy to blame the problems of our life on others. A victim does not have to do anything. However, this will eventually lead to bitterness because our lives never get better this way. That's why building our lives on bitterness is like building our lives on sand. When the storms come, they will destroy us. Jesus has a better way.
In Chapter 6, Jesus says the wise see God has FATHER and build on the rock that brings TRUST IN God. The foolish see God has OTHER and build on the sand that always TESTS God.
(Matthew 6:25,31-34) That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
The most important image in your mind is how you see God. This is because how you see Him will affect how you relate to Him. This is why Jesus spends much of His message discussing getting our view of the Heavenly Father correct. When we see our Heavenly Father correctly, it will change everything. One of the biggest storms in the lives of many is worry. Jesus said that if we could get an accurate picture of how much our Heavenly Father loves us, we would not worry about anything in the past or future. We would focus only on today and realize He is there too. This would cause us to build our lives on an unshakable trust in Him.
The opposite of this is true too. When we choose to be foolish, we see God as anything other than a Heavenly Father. We see God as a tyrant, our equal, or our cosmic "Santa Clause." This is unfortunate because it is like building our lives on a constant need for God to prove Himself. This is no way to build your life because God will not always do things the way you want and in your timing. If your hope is solely based on God doing things your way, you will constantly be defeated by every storm cloud.
Finally, in Chapter 7, Jesus says the wise live with OTHERS and build on the rock that brings FELLOWSHIP. The foolish live for "ME" and build on the sand that brings ISOLATION.
(Matthew 7:1-5) Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
This chapter is powerful because many of us struggle with others more than anything else. Many of our storms have to do with the hurts we have received or our mistakes toward others. The bottom line is we need each other. We have been designed to exist in a community. The problem is many of us stink at it. So, Jesus helps us see that we should never see others as a stepping stone to get to where we want to go. That's living with our lives built on sand. Instead, we should see our lives as a chance to be "of service" to others. Zig Ziglar once said, "If you will help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want as a bonus." Ziglar was not saying we have ulterior motives when serving others. He simply said that if we can have the courage to serve others, God always takes care of us too. When we do this, we live in a true community and avoid isolation.
The bottom line of Jesus' message is that storms will come, bad days are ahead, and our lives will be tested occasionally. However, this is not to make us worried or live in fear. This is to say, before it rains, build. Just be sure to build on the right foundation. The best news is that joy grows daily as I realize the PRESENCE of a storm is not the ABSENCE of God.
Questions/Journal Prompts for reflection:
- What does it mean to be a “doer” of the Word?
- Do you find yourself sometimes building your life without thought?
- What is the most significant battle in your life right now?
- What next step do you need to make?