Jesus was a master-builder, a trained and professional artisan, a teknon, a worker in wood and stone.
As you will hear in this PODCAST, Jesus knew all about soil, sand, rock, and proper foundations on which a house can stand strong and secure against floods and winds.
Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV)
24 “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: 25 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.
26 “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: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew says that the people there were astonished by his authority. So, what does astonished mean? The word literally means to be struck out of one’s senses. Their minds were blown! They had never heard teaching such as this before. Jesus was a rabbi who “out-rabbi-ed” all their other rabbis. You see, Jesus not only understood the text of the Torah, as any rabbi or scribe worth their salt did, but He went way beyond that, explained the application of the words and the intent behind the words. He explained the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law. In other words, He not only explained the meaning of God’s word, but God’s reason for writing it in the first place.
And, what was it about Jesus’ authority that He spoke with that separated Him from the scribes? Well, for starters, the word Matthew used for “authority” is the same word Jesus used when He said that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins; and then went on to heal the paralyzed man while also forgiving his sins – all on the Sabbath. And those who saw this stood in amazement at the authority given to a man to heal and beyond that, to forgive sins. (Matthew 9:1-8)
Then, we see the same word used again in the next chapter when Jesus called together His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sickness and diseases.
Jesus spoke with all this authority – from God Himself – when he taught.
So, getting back to the passage in Matthew 7, the question becomes, on what foundation are you and I building our lives? Because it’s a 100% certainty that metaphoric (and some actual) floods and storms will ravenously and unexpectedly devastate our lives.
Now, notice that as Jesus describes the wise man in the midst of the storm, He doesn’t say that the wise man got on his knees and prayed that the storm go away. Rather, the wise man actually had prepared for it by laying the right foundation.
And notice that Jesus doesn’t say that he merely built on rock, but that he built his home upon THE rock. So what is the rock?
Well, first we have to consider the foolish builder. He built his home on a foundation that appeared to be solid – after all the sand Jesus referred to seems hard enough to construct upon. But was brought to reality when the storm brought down his house by quickly eroding the eluvial sand with its wind and rain.
Then consider that storms – both metaphoric and real – are a natural part of life. They don’t reflect God’s grace, mercy, nor anger with us. In fact, He actually uses them for His purpose of drawing us closer to Him.
If we are built upon a foundation of the rock.
So, what is the rock?
The rock isn’t Jesus (close but no cigar). The rock is His words and our obedience to them. The rock is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7.
As Jesus said at the very end of His most famous sermon: “whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
That morning, upon that hill, Jesus was laying down a foundation upon which people could build their lives. And if we build our lives on a foundation of THE rock, then the storms that will inevitably rage against us do not have to be devastating, but we can endure them and even glorify God through them.