2 December 2010Matthew 7:21-27
"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who buildhis house on rock." (v. 24)
You can imagine Jesus starting off the parable (verses 24-27)
along the lines of "Have you heard the one about the man who build
a house on ... ?", much to the laughter and amusement of his
audience. It could easily have been something within their
The story itself is not a far-fetched illustration. There would have been many places in Israel that would, at first appearances, look like an idyllic place to construct a house - sandy gullies or dried up river beds with a pleasant outlook and easy to dig foundations. Yet with rainfall they would soon become a raging torrent.
It is possible, too, that both builders built on water courses, yet only one bothered to dig down to solid rock. The other satisfied himself with sand and thought that this would be enough. But when the water came, the foundations needed the rocks for stability.
This reading comes at the end of the Sermon in the Mount - a block of Jesus' teaching - and this final section is full of warnings of judgement for those who do not put Jesus' teaching into practice.
What differentiates the two builders is not what they hear, but what they do or how they act on the words (verse 24, 26). Jesus' words and teaching are not there to be ignored or toyed with - they are there to be heeded. But more than that, Jesus' words are only truly heard when they are put into action, or in terms of the parable until the house is built on the rock. The works need to affect life and behaviour.
Think of a time or event in your life that shook your foundations, but you remained strong. What happened?
What are the aspects of your faith and discipleship that have the weakest foundations? How can you strengthen them?
The parable is about two builders: one who acted on what they had heard, and another who didn't. What about someone who hears things but takes no action? Are there any parts of your life where that is true? What might God be saying to you about this?