Dad Devotional Day 7

Matthew 7:24

In preparation for the upcoming Temple our current 1 Chronicles story line, I decided to jump ahead to a bit of foundation talk by Jesus.

In Matthew 7, Jesus harnesses his background as a laborer. He illustrates a building project and likens it to having a good moral foundation in your life…. Just kidding. That’s not what Jesus is talking about at all, but the number of sermons to the contrary make my head spin. (A good rule of thumb is to assume Jesus is always talking about something other than what you think he is talking about.)

A little context is helpful. The period in which Jesus is preaching, a massive overhaul of the Temple complex has been completed with the finishing touches ongoing. This is the defining new symbol of the Jewish people. Herod, the local king, has managed to appease Rome by keeping the locals happy with this ornate undertaking. All of the people are very proud of this national building project.

Jesus tells this parable about a builder who builds his rock on the sand as opposed to one who builds his house on rock. The builder who builds his house on rock, is the one who listens to Jesus and acts on his words. The man who builds his house on sand is the man who listens to Jesus, but does not do what he says. When rough weather comes the house collapses.

Jesus is staking a claim against this new fancy temple the people are looking to. He is saying in not so many words that this national identity in the temple is not the way for Gods people to live. It will lead to trouble and ruin for them. (As it has in the past.) Instead, He is offering a different path that will endure in times of trouble. At the same time, He is admonishing them for merely listening to Him. He is telling them to get their back-end in gear or Rome is going to crush you. The difference between success and failure in His Kingdom is action.

The closing lines, “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” are perfect. Partly, because they are as confusing as the rest of the parable, but more precisely because they reflect the sentiment of the audience. Jesus is stomping on their version of the Statue of Liberty and they are amazed at Him in the same way your mother would be if you came home cursing like a sailor.

Jesus is saying that He is foundational and is not about politics. He expects his people to follow Him through actions. By doing so Israel’s foundation will stand when the rough times come. It is an extraordinary claim made in an extraordinary time. But the people are not. We are just like them, if not more so. Jesus is calling your life to be one not about politics, or national identity, but a life about him. A person who acts in response to his call is going to weather the storm when it comes. Is that you?

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