24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
Sing it with me: “The wise man built his house upon the rock…and the rains came tumbling down…The rains came down and the floods came up…and the house on the rock stood firm! The foolish man built his house upon the sand…and the rains came tumbling down…The rains came down and the floods came up…and the house on the sand went crash!” Bonus points if you remember the motions. My apologies now if you can’t shake the tune for the rest of the day. This makes a great children’s song and helps teach scripture by repetition, but there’s more to this passage than a sticky tune.
In this text, Jesus was driving home His point in the previous parables taught on a hillside to jaw-dropped crowds. Jesus grabbed their attention with the good news of who is blessed—and how to live in favor with God. If I had been sitting in the crowd that day, I might have been thinking the same thing as everyone else. “How does He know how to have favor with God or what pleases God? Our rabbi never talked to us this way.” And He didn’t stop there. Jesus went on to say His words had authority, because He represented the fulfillment of the Law.
Then He began to really meddle by instructing the people how to behave behind the closed doors of home and heart, startling them with His directives regarding murder and unforgiveness and adultery and divorce. I might have leaned over to my neighbor and whispered, “Who is He to tell me not to lie, to turn the other cheek when I’m mistreated, and to love, not judge, those whose purpose on earth seems bent to keeping me down? And how I should manage my money? AND how I should pray?”
Good news! Jesus was telling the truth. He really did come to fulfill the Law and the prophecy of the Old Testament. He authenticated His words with His life. Jesus gave the astonished crowd a choice. They could choose to believe and take His teaching to heart by accepting the grand story (like the wise man)—OR, they could reject His teaching (like the foolish man).
Have you ever said to yourself about something, “I should have seen that coming”? If you have, more than likely it was in reference to relationships or finances. If you haven’t, Jesus gives course corrections in His Sermon on the Mount which can be used to stay in His footsteps so you don’t come to that point.
Jesus will never force you to follow Him. But a wise man’s choice to change directions and follow Jesus will determine his destination. Choosing to go your own way will eventually lead you to a place you won’t want to be. Jesus was in essence saying, “IF you to do these things, it will not only make you better and make your life better, it will make you better at life.” The choice is yours.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- When was the last time you were jaw-dropping astonished by Jesus’ words?
- What needs to change in your life? What do you need to course correct?