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. (Matthew 7:24-29, NIV)
Every language has certain phrases that are difficult, if not impossible to translate into other languages. The direct words can be translated, but something gets lost in the translation and it just doesn’t quite hold the same emphasis as it does in the original language. With the rise of text messages and online chatting, we have discovered the same thing. Emphasis, meaning, tone, can all get lost in a message, while physically hearing the words makes a deeper, more complete impact.
The teachings of Jesus are unique because of how He taught. Jesus has the authority to teach as no teacher before or after Him has had. Jesus is the Son of God, a member of the Trinity, and divine in His own right. No one – NO ONE – else on earth can claim that authority. Therefore when Jesus spoke it was unlike anything the people had heard before. Hearing Jesus speak, learning at His feet, must have truly been an awe-inspiring moment.
One of the ways Jesus was so remarkable was in how He related what He was teaching to the people. Many faith leaders today continue to follow this example. Jesus simplified His teachings to ensure that the audience would understand Him. He did not want His message to be complicated or difficult to understand. He wanted all to understand! Jesus also wanted His message to be easily shared with those who had not heard it in person. And, He wanted people to discuss His message. His teachings were layered. Discussion, and repeated discussion, brought out these layers and allowed people to peel them farther and farther back as they continued to gain in wisdom and understanding.
And wisdom and understanding must come from a solid foundation, which is what Jesus was providing. The people of Jesus’s day knew the importance of the foundation of a house. Storms are unavoidable and a house must be able to withstand the storms. Have you ever stood on the sand as the tide came in or out? Did you feel the sand shift beneath your feet as the waves crashed over you and ran back out? Soon, you find yourself sinking into the sand. Now imagine that was where you built your house. What do you think would happen to it? How would that compare to a house built on a rock?
In truth, Jesus was not concerned with people’s ability to build physical structures. He was concerned everyone have the proper foundation for life. A proper spiritual foundation comes not just from knowing God’s word, but acting upon it. This does not mean acquiescing to the world’s idea of how a proper Christian should behave, but basing your behavior on the actual teachings of Christ, which means you must know what He said, why He said it, and what He wanted you to do with it.
How is your foundation? Have you checked it lately? Even in the strongest foundation, cracks can develop. It is important to always be growing in wisdom and understanding of God’s word – prevent the cracks from forming! Intellectual understanding of God’s word is important, but do you act upon what you learn? Do you make changes in your life where needed to better align yourself with the teachings of God? How is your foundation?
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