10 June 2013

Luke 6:47-49

“I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.” (v. 47)


This parable comes at the end of what is commonly known as the 'sermon on the plain' which begins at Luke 6:17. Luke's Gospel describes how Jesus came down from a mountain, having chosen his 12 disciples (verses 12 to 16) before delivering this 'sermon' to a great multitude. In choosing 12 disciples we are reminded of the 12 tribes of Israel, whilst the description of Jesus coming down from the mountain and delivering his teaching to the multitude reminds us of Moses coming down from the mountain and delivering the 10 commandments to the waiting tribes (Exodus 20).

This parable serves as a good summary and conclusion to the 'sermon' because it speaks about the importance of hearing and acting on Jesus' words. This is emphasised by the passage following on from these verses. The story (Luke 7:1-10) is about the healing of the centurion's servant; the centurion seems to be the living embodiment of the person who hears the words of Christ and acts on them because he recognises their authority. He speaks about his own soldiers who hear his commands and obey him and how he therefore places himself under Christ's authority. Jesus describes this man as having great faith because at the heart of obedience to commands is faith in the person who issues them.

The parable speaks about two houses, one which has a foundation built on rock and the other with no foundation. It also speaks about a river rising a causing a flood. We might interpret these images so that the house represents the self and the rock represents the words of Christ. The river is often interpreted as representing the challenges and problems of life which may affect us from time to time and we can therefore draw appropriate conclusions from this story. But maybe the river also represents the Holy Spirit. Perhaps therefore this is a parable about maintaining a good balance between the word of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

To Ponder

  • What are the foundations of your life?
  • Which areas of your life do you find it hardest to trust God with?
  • What might God be asking you to do today?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jonathan Mead

Jonathan is a Methodist minister, who works part time in the London NW Mission circuit and part time as a learning and development officer in the London District. He enjoys keeping fit, reading history and visiting Mediterranean destinations..