Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders


The Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders.  One one level, it’s about the choice between building a house on rock or sand.  That sounds like an easy choice to make.  On another level, it’s about what we do, if anything, after hearing or reading what Jesus had to say.  It’s interesting that it comes at the very end of The Sermon On The Mount.  Chapters 5 to 7 of Matthew’s Gospel.  John Stott says this about the passages:

The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed. It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that he ever uttered, for it is his own description of what he wanted his followers to be and to do. To my mind, no two words sum up its intention better, or indicate more clearly its challenge to the modern world, than the expression ‘Christian counter-culture’. 1)Stott, J. R. W., & Stott, J. R. W. (1985). The message of the Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian counter-culture (pp. 14–15). Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Parable of The Wise And The Foolish BuildersThat really sets up the “problems” with parables quite nicely.  They’re well known.  Easy to remember.  But hard to understand.  Just like the Sermon on the Mount.  There’s a saying about something being a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.  This is one of those.  The saying is meant to portray something that’s very mysterious and hidden.  That it’s also out in the open, easy to remember and easy to understand only serves to make it even more enigmatic (difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious.)  How’s that for a riddle wrapped up in an enigma which itself is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma?  

If you haven’t read it yet, this might be a good time to check out some background information on why Jesus spoke in parables

One has to do with Old Testament Prophecy.  It really gets into the concepts of why some people see the obvious meanings of a parable, but others see the deeper meaning.  In this case, whether people see this as comparing Jesus’ teachings to where to build a building – or whether they’re really a blueprint for our lives.  

There are also cultural issues at play in the parables.  Unfortunately, that makes things more difficult for us today.  It’s like having another layer of riddles.  Please see Jesus spoke in parables to help make things easier to understand for more on this thought.  Of course, the problem with cultural concepts is that we don’t live in a culture anything like that of Jesus in His time.  So instead of easier – it’s harder for us.

Oh yeah.  There’s one other thing.  How many of us actually build our own houses?  My grandfather did.  Three of them.  He’d build one – move into it – and start to build another one.  Move into it. Repeat process.  I remember a few things about “helping” with the third one when I was very little.  But I never built a house myself.  It’s another of those things that we’re now so far removed from that we just don’t understand much about it.

Who are The Wise And The Foolish Builders?

In Jesus’ time, the wise builders were the ones who built on a foundation of rock.  The foolish ones were the ones who build on sand.  But that’s not necessarily true any longer.  Today we have building codes.  The wise builders are the ones who follow or exceed building code requirements.  The foolish ones don’t follow the codes, ending up with a home that is pretty much expected to have problems.

Back in Jesus’ time, there were no inspectors.  Today, the wise builder has both government inspectors and excellent private inspectors.  The foolish builder tries to get away with no inspectors, tries to bribe the inspectors, trick them, and so on.

In Jesus’ time there was no such thing as insurance either.  You can imagine where the side and foolish builders stand when it comes to insurance.  And there’s a whole host of other issues related to building as well.  Like quality of materials – the best, the minimum to meet a legal requirement, or just plan substandard materials.  And on and on.

So what is the parable of the wise and the foolish builders?

This parable is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Matthew:
The Wise and Foolish Builders

Mt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Israel map in New Testament times

Luke:

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Lk 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

The two aren’t exactly the same – but very close.  They appear to be from two different occurrences.  The one in Matthew is from the Sermon on the Mount.  That implies Jesus was standing (or sitting) higher than those who were listening to Him.  However, in Luke, Jesus is described as going down with them and standing on a level place.

Also, the description of where the people are coming from is different.  In Matthew’s account they are from Galilee, while in Luke they are from Judea.  As you can see from the map, they’re pretty far apart when the mode of transportation is walking.  Therefore, slightly different wording with the same essential message is not at all surprising.

The parable of the wise and the foolish builders – listening

Mt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice …
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice …

Lk 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? …
he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice …
the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice …

There’s something interesting in the words above.  Did you notice that both Matthew and Luke write about those who hear Jesus’ words?  There’s nothing about not hearing His words.

Let’s look into that.  The first thing I think of is that people don’t hear Jesus’ words because we – Christians – haven’t really done all that well with fulfilling the Great Commission.  See The Great Omission from The Great Commission for more about that. 

What about the ignorant builder?

The net result is that anyone who hasn’t heard Jesus’ words cannot possibly understand the parable.  It’s obvious – but I feel it’s worth drawing attention to.  To the extent that someone hasn’t heard the good news of the Gospel from any Christian – they cannot be saved.  And you know what?  Is that really their fault?  Remember – everyone sins.  Everyone.  Someone has to tell everyone about Jesus. 

Just like we heard from someone – we need to tell others.  If we don’t, who will?  And every person who doesn’t hear never even has the chance to be one of the people that Jesus spoke about in the parable of the wise and the foolish builders.  They never get a chance to be wise or foolish.  They’re just ignorant.  And in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss.  Ignorance is the road to Hell.

Hearing and doing

Hearing and doing – it’s a concept you’ve seen before if you’re a regular reader here.  Like with faith.  To the Hebrew people in the Old Testament / the Jewish people in Jesus’ time – faith always involved action.  See The problem of Good Deeds and Faith for more on that thought.  If you don’t read it now, just know that to those who heard Jesus’ words, believing [in] God always carried an element of living out what they believed. 

So when Jesus said, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice – that’s something the Jewish people would have immediately recognized as a natural reaction to hearing His words and having faith that they were trustworthy and true.  In the same way, everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice was recognizable as someone who didn’t believe.

What we have then is, contrary to popular belief today, someone who “believes in” Jesus wouldn’t just raise their hand and claim their belief, expecting to reap whatever benefits might come with that belief.  Far from it.  They fully knew there were actions that must accomplish their belief – otherwise there was no true belief.  One more time – belief was so strong and so important that action based on that belief was an integral part of believing.

What did the wise builders put into practice?

Mt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Lk 6:47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

Let’s look at some key thoughts there, and look at them one at a time.

dug down deep
foundation on the rock
torrent struck that house
it did not fall

The wise builder – dug down deep

Question – do you think Jesus had a sense of humor with this one?  Did He mean dig down deep through dirt to get to the rock below?  Or was He talking about taking the effort to understand the parable?  For that matter, to understand any parable?  Or how about just putting in time and effort to learn about God?  After all, remember how He responded when asked about the greatest commandment.

The Greatest Commandment

22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31

Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Using all our heart, all our soul and all our mind.  That’s a lot of effort and will take a lot of time.  That’s digging deep.

Looking up the Greek from which we read “dug down” there’s actually only one word.  It means, unsurprisingly, dig.

However, in between “dug down” and “deep” there’s an untranslated word.  It means things like also, even, indeed, but, depending on context.  So let’s get some context and check out the word translated as “deep”.

900 βαθύνω [bathuno /bath·oo·no/] v. From 901; GK 959; AV translates as “dig deep + 4626” once. 1 ‘the deep’ sea (the ‘high seas’). 2 deep, extreme poverty, the deep things of God, things hidden and above man’s scrutiny, especially divine counsels. 3 to make deep.  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Fascinating, isn’t it?  It can mean just “deep” – like it’s translated.

However, it can also mean the deep things of God, things hidden and above man’s scrutiny, especially divine counsels.  Isn’t that what a parable is about?

So there is a bit of a sense of humor there.  One that can only be appreciated by someone who “digs down deep” to see what the original Greek words mean.  Like a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.

That sets the table for the rest of what we’ll read about the wise builder.  It should also set up the way we read every parable.  If I haven’t done a good enough job with that already – this should make it abundantly clear.

The wise builder – foundation on the rock

OK – we just had a “riddle” of sorts.  How about a pun?  Of course, that’s the word rock.

Obviously, in the simple explanation – this is about somehow attaching the foundation of the building to solid rock.

But this is a parable.  And we’ve just seen the part about digging deep to find the hidden things of God.  Further, it’s about attaching our “foundation” to that rock that we dug deep to find – about the hidden things of God that we found.

And what’s often the best place to hide something?  How about out in the open?  In plain sight.  Like hiding them in the person of Jesus – who’s speaking these words?  Remember when Jesus was asking His disciples who they thought He was?

Peter’s Confession of Christ

16:13-16 pp — Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20

Mt 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

Mt 16:14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Mt 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Mt 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Mt 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Yes – Jesus was the rock.  See On This Rock – Part 1 – Intro & Prologue for more on that.

In the Old Testament, the “Rock” was often a way to refer to God.  [lower case rock was false gods – upper case Rock was The Lord].  Paul makes it clear to the Jewish people that Jesus was the “Rock” that accompanied their forefathers through the desert during the Exodus:

Warnings From Israel’s History

1Co 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

As for the actual foundation, Paul wrote this:

1Co 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Paul very much ties this in with what Jesus said in the parable of the wise and foolish builders.  Paul, the expert / wise builder laid a foundation of Jesus.  And he did it so that what he built wouldn’t be destroyed.  Not only wasn’t it destroyed by a storm – it would withstand the testing by fire.

The foundation of the second temple

Going back to the Old Testament, we can learn something else about foundations.  After the destruction of the first temple, built by Solomon, it took the Israelites a long time to build the second temple.  Here’s what recorded about its completion, finally, in Ezra:

Rebuilding the Temple

Ezr 3:7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.

Ezr 3:8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites twenty years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD. 9 Jeshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah ) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.

Ezr 3:10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:
“He is good;
his love to Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

That’s sad.  Very sad.  Especially when we considered that the Israelites had previously built their own towns and taken care of themselves.  But God came last.  Not first.  Not even at the same time.  Last.  And we read –

But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise.

Apparently, God felt the way the older priests and Levites did.  He never dwelt in the second temple.

In fact, there’s no record of God’s Glory even being seen again until the night when the Shepherds were told about the birth of Jesus.

That’s how important a foundation is.  Especially when we realize the foundation is Jesus – attached to a rock, which is also Jesus.  Further, God’s Glory now resides in us, with the Holy Spirit – the mind of Jesus, as Paul calls Him.  That Jesus on Jesus on Jesus.  That’s a foundation.

The wise builder – torrent struck that house

Whether it’s torrent or rain, river or sea rising – there’s a reminder of the flood.  You know – the one where every creature on land died, except for Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark with him.  These things are signs of something very destructive.  Whether they come from God as the flood did, from Satan, or just from being in the wrong place at the wrong time in this fallen world – the possibility of destruction is ever present.  The best foundation.

That’s why a really solid foundation was necessary.  It’s why we saw Jesus on Jesus on Jesus as the true solid foundation for the parable’s hidden things of God meaning.

For the simple meaning though – this one falls apart today.  It seems like it should have in Jesus’ time as well.  Poorly built houses in poor neighborhoods always seem to be getting destroyed in storms today.  Trailer parks seem like magnets for tornadoes.  Houses built for people who can afford the best tend to survive much better.

So shouldn’t the houses of most people back in Biblical times have been destroyed, whether they were built on rock or sand?

The answer to that is, no.  Surprised?  I was.  Here’s a bit of history.

Building Materials in Biblical Times

I. Construction Materials. Building projects consumed the largest quantity of Israel’s mineral resources, but we have no evidence that the Hebrews ran short of mineral supplies. They used the most easily available minerals for building.

A. Hewn Stone. Most Israelites lived in houses built of hewn stone. (See “Architecture and Furniture.”) The prophet Amos tells us that even the wealthy preferred “houses of hewn stone” (Amos 5:11), and Solomon used stone for the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 5:17; 7:12). Many kinds of building stone were available in Palestine, but it seems that marble and cheaper grades of limestone were most popular. Even in New Testament times, stone was the most common building material in the Holy Land, and Peter referred to Christians as “lively stones” in the structure that Christ built (1 Pet. 2:4–5).

Stone was the most common building material.  Guess my grandfather had it right.  Although he just got stones from driving around in the hills near where he built the houses.  They weren’t hewn – he just put them in the “right” places as he built.  That’s fine, since he lived in a place with no earthquakes.

The thing is, we don’t do this anymore.  In fact, we can’t even deal with stones the size of what they used to use.  We now use things that don’t last as long. 

However, the use of stones did mean that just water and wind would not normally destroy a building in Biblical times, if it was built on stone.  So the logic of the parable – both simple and hidden meanings – did apply.  But unless we learn the little history lesson above, we won’t know that.

B. Bricks. Baked clay bricks were the Israelites’ second favorite building material. The Bible first mentions brick in the construction of the Tower of Babel. There the builders said to one another, “Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly” (Gen. 11:3). So we think the builders baked their bricks in kilns, as the ancient Babylonians did. Archaeologists have found Babylonian bricks that were quite large, sometimes 30 cm. (about one foot) square, and flat. This shape could support the weight of large buildings better than today’s rectangular bricks. Researchers think some of the early Israelite bricks may have followed this Babylonian pattern.

It wasn’t my intention to learn things like this, but again we see a case where the building materials from Biblical times, in some ways, were better than what we use today.  Brick houses are common in places like Texas, where they have high winds but not earthquakes.

C. Mortar and Plaster. The Hebrews often used “pitch” as mortar for their stone work. Pitch was asphalt, which the Hebrews dug from tar pits around the Dead Sea. The Bible also calls soft asphalt “slime” (Gen. 14:10). “Pitch” or “slime” exposed to the air for several days hardened to form a tight, resilient bond between the stones of Hebrew buildings. The Israelites also used pitch to seal their boats and fuel their torches (cf. Gen. 6:14; Exod. 2:3).

Today, we use cement.  Given what I’ve experienced from stone houses with cement, it sounds like the “slime” may have been better at keeping out moisture.

Sand was not as plentiful for the ancients as we might suppose. Most of Palestine was covered with coarse gravel and dust; sand was found only along riverbanks and the seacoast—but the Philistines controlled most of the coast. Yet the Israelites dredged sand from the Kishon River near Accho and other sites to make mortar, glass, and other products.  3)Packer, J. I., Tenney, M. C., & White, W., Jr. (1997). Nelson’s illustrated manners and customs of the Bible (pp. 204–205). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

The note on the lack of sand is interesting.  It means that Jesus’ location at the times He used this parable was very much based on where He was.  If this parable was told in an area that had no sand, it’s usefulness would have been greatly reduced. 

Remember, the original goal was to have the simple part of the parable relatively easy to grasp and remember.  If Jesus told this parable in a location where everything was rocky, it would leave many people wondering what’s the problem with sand, since they may not have been aware of the issues.  Not unlike today, where we don’t see a problem with building on sand and most of us have never been in a house built entirely from stone.

Ultimately, the wise builder understands the implications of the analogy for the torrent.  It’s the things that happen in life, no matter the reason.  Again, let’s turn to Paul to see this:

A Workman Approved by God

2Ti 2:14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Once again, we see the mention of the builder, the foundation and the fact that the foundation from God is solid.  It’s not just something from this parable.  It’s a theme that runs throughout the Bible.

The wise builder – it did not fall

We could look at what Matthew wrote and conclude that not falling is the goal.  Damage is acceptable.  Damage to the building and to us.  We could do that.

Until we look at what Luke wrote: the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  

No damage?  Is that realistic?  Lot’s of things go wrong.  And they affect us.  Both our homes and our lives.  Surely this isn’t right.  Let’s look at the word that get’s translated as shake.

4531 σαλεύω [saleuo /sal·yoo·o/] v. From 4535; TDNT 7:65; TDNTA 996; GK 4888; 15 occurrences; AV translates as “shake” 10 times, “move” once, “shake together” once, “that are shaken” once, “which cannot be shaken + 3361” once, and “stir up” once. 1 a motion produced by winds, storms, waves, etc. 1A to agitate or shake. 1B to cause to totter. 1C to shake thoroughly, of a measure filled by shaking its contents together. 2 to shake down, overthrow. 2A to cast down from one’s (secure and happy) state. 2B to move, agitate the mind, to disturb one.  4)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

It certainly could mean something other than just total collapse.  But how can that be?  

In this fallen world, like we said, things happen.  Our journey with God isn’t a flat line – where we just stay calm all the time.  Neither is it a constantly rising line where things just keep getting better and better.  Often-times life’s more like a roller coaster. 

Or walking on water?

Jesus Walks on the Water

14:22-33 pp — Mk 6:45-51; Jn 6:15-21
14:34-36 pp — Mk 6:53-56

Mt 14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Mt 14:25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

Mt 14:27 But Jesus immediately said to them:Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Mt 14:28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Mt 14:29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Mt 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Mt 14:32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Yes – that was a roller coaster.  Fear.  Questioning.  Exhilaration.  More fear.  Relief and embarrassment.  All in the space of probably a few minutes.

The “building” didn’t totally crash, but it sure had “damage”.  So how does this fit?

Remember that this is a fallen world.  Sin exists.  The fear, and questioning, even the embarrassment are the results from being in this fallen world.  

However, having said that, don’t forget how God views us after we’re saved.  While there are various passages on the topic, I like this one for what we’re discussing now:

Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The priest in verse 12 is Jesus.  The rock.  The foundation.  The One whose mind is the Holy Spirit.  And His sacrifice made those who believe in Him to be perfect.  That’s how God sees us now.

We see damage, we feel hurt, we acknowledge to ourselves all sorts of things that we did wrong in the torrent of life.  But when we come to believe in Jesus – to follow Him – God doesn’t see that.  God sees us as we will one day see ourselves, in Paradise.  Perfect.

The Wise Builders

Mt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 

We built our foundation (Jesus) on rock (Jesus).  In our hearts, we have the Holy Spirit (the mind of Jesus).  Life – whether it be problems from Satan, testing from God, or just circumstances from a fallen world – does it’s best to destroy us.  But because we have the Jesus / Jesus / Jesus foundation – we come out, in a word, perfect.

The foolish builders

I could just re-write everything above from the opposite point of view.  But you’ve already gone through something along the lines of 12 pages to get here.  Besides, my objective is to get you to want to be a wise builder.

So – I’ll just say this.  If you don’t follow the outline above – OK – it’s more than an outline.  But it’s hardly fine details either.  Anyway – if you don’t follow what I wrote above, you’ll likely end up being a foolish builder.

Remember those four key thoughts from the parable:

dug down deep
foundation on the rock
torrent struck that house
it did not fall

They’re important to understand and to do.  Failing to do the first two will lead to the house falling when the inevitable torrent strikes.  Failure to always examine what you’re doing and how you’re living – is a path that likely leads to the house falling as well.

And if you need motivation, or don’t yet comprehend the difference between the lives of the wise builder versus the foolish builder – consider this:

The Narrow and Wide Gates

Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Only the few are the wise builders.

My prayer for you – be one of the wise builders.

 


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References   [ + ]

1. Stott, J. R. W., & Stott, J. R. W. (1985). The message of the Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian counter-culture (pp. 14–15). Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
2, 4. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
3. Packer, J. I., Tenney, M. C., & White, W., Jr. (1997). Nelson’s illustrated manners and customs of the Bible (pp. 204–205). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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