Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:47-48 (ESV)
The theme of building a house is prominent in the biblical narrative. “House” doesn’t always mean a physical building. If often refers to a family line or heritage. You might remember that David wanted to build a physical house for God, but God wanted to build a relational house for David. His descendants would always be on the throne of the Messianic Kingdom. Today, all those who are in Christ are part of that house. It allows us to participate in building with him as the house continues to grow.
What application should we take from this text for us? The point Jesus is making to the original hearers is that his words are different from those they are accustomed to hearing in their own religious structures. He builds based on his word. Those who treat it like it is optional are not building his house regardless of what sign they put on the structure. They are building something that will be destroyed just like the temple of Jesus’ day. Sadly we get attached to physical structures and organizations that profess to be the house of God, but are nothing more than shacks that will fall when the storm comes.
What is the word that must be the foundation of God’s house? Some have cherry picked some of Jesus’ teachings and have concluded that they are building on his words. Others have suggested that Jesus simply adopted the teachings of the Jewish leaders and added his higher ethic, thereby making it even more difficult to be obedient. Simply, the word of Jesus is the fulfilled word of the previous prophets, and promises. Jesus appeared as the final and full revelation of God’ nature and purpose. He announced the arrival of the kingdom that had been anticipated for hundreds of years. He proclaimed the arrival of the day of rejoicing. He proclaimed the forgiveness of sins and the liberation of those in shackles of guilt and fear. He lived to fulfill the covenant requirements of those he identified as brothers. He died to fulfill the demanded sacrifice of eternal justice. He rose from the dead and declared that Satan was defeated and death was his servant. He ascended as Lord of the kingdom, ruling over everything that would affect his people.
All of the above is the word of Jesus. It is not just some of his teachings that we attempt to adopt. It is the fullness of his person and work that we embrace. Anything that has any hopes of lasting beyond the pressures of life’s storm must not only hear this word, but also align with it. It is the “word of Christ” that produces faith (Romans 10:17). We can build our lives, our families, our ministries, and vocations on this word. We have a great promise. It will stand!