THE RIGHT RESPONSE
Lord Jesus, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray, but keep me, guide me, love me, just for today.
Read Matthew 7:21–29
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
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.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectLord Jesus, grant me ears to hear your words and a willing heart to obey you. Amen.
The magnitude of the truth tucked away in these last verses of Jesus’ sermon is quite breath-taking. Consider what Jesus reveals about himself: he claims an intimate relationship with God (v 21), he unveils his authority as Lord and judge (vs 21,23) and declares that his teaching has power to save and protect (v 25). That means Jesus’ teaching demands a response.
Some people respond by saying and doing the right things (vs 21–23), but their claim for entry to the kingdom of God is based on their works (v 21) rather than a relationship with Christ based on God’s grace. Jesus’ judgment (v 23) is clear: these people evidently do not have a relationship with him because they continue to do evil.
Then there are people who hear Jesus’ teaching but don’t do anything about it. Reading the Bible or sitting listening to a sermon is not enough to give life. The only wise response is to obey (v 24; see also John 6:29). Just as building on a rock takes more effort, so putting Jesus’ words into practice will never be easy, but it is the only way that leads to life and security (v 25).
Obeying the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is a lifetime’s endeavor. Why not start today by reviewing an aspect of Jesus’ teaching and asking for the Holy Spirit’s help to put it into practice?
Stir me Lord, to live a life worthy of You, like a light set upon a hill, pointing others to You.