MEDITATIONS ON JESUS’ SERMON ON THE MOUNT:
MATTHEW’S GOSPEL, CHAPTERS FIVE THROUGH SEVEN
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:24-29)
There was a boy who enjoyed building toy forts in his backyard; they didn’t last long.
We see people doing that all the time, don’t we? People are constantly building and rebuilding their lives as they think best. Everyone is trying to build his life on some concept, some ideal, some set of principles. From the Muslim extremist to the avowed atheist, each is conducting business, looking for a spouse, raising a family, and going about daily living on some set of principles.
And such principles are always changing. How many times don’t we hear of “new” secrets to a happy marriage or a “better” way to raise children? Educators, students, and parents alike can tell you how our educational systems continue to change, seemingly every year.
Man’s principles in life are constantly shifting because they come from the flawed, sinful mind of man.
In Matthew chapters five through seven Jesus has been preaching to His disciples, His followers—to you and me! He has not directly been talking about the way of salvation, but about the way His believers live their lives.
Treating topics such as the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, marriage, divorce, loving our enemies—and seeking first the kingdom of God rather than worrying about tomorrow—are Jesus’ way of addressing our lives in this world as His redeemed children.
Now at the close of chapter seven, He concludes His sermon with the comparison of two builders. Note that both are building a house for themselves, and both homes are beat upon by raging storms.
What is the difference? The foundation, the base of the entire building project! The foolish builder built his house on the sand. Sandy soil is not a solid foundation for a home. When the winds blew, the rains fell, and the winds beat against that house, it collapsed. “And great was its fall.”
Jesus says such is the foolish builder who “hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them.” The scribes and Pharisees heard the words of Jesus but refused to follow them and do them. Judas Iscariot repeatedly heard the words of Christ but instead built his life on the love of money. They were building their lives on the shifting sand of man’s philosophy and religion. As is the case with all who hear and do not follow the words of Jesus Christ, great is their fall when the storms of life—especially the violent storm of death—strikes.
But Jesus does not want it to be so with you. Jesus who loved you and purchased you with His own life-blood wants you to have a solid foundation against the storms of life. He who is “the Truth” wants you to hear the truth of His Word and build your life on it. His “sayings” are rock-solid because they are the perfect word of God Himself, not the empty opinions of sinful man.
Storms will come for believer and unbeliever alike. Finances may fade. Nations will fall. Cancer may strike. Death will come. But Jesus, His Word, His will, His sayings will be the solid foundation which will hold firm amidst all those storms. “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
May the Holy Spirit help us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22). May He bless our life-long building project on the Rock, the Word of Jesus Christ! “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). Amen!