The Parables of Jesus Part 2
Matthew 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49 - Come to Jesus, hear His Words, and ACT!
““Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.””
Matthew 7:24-27 NASB1995
“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.””
Luke 6:47-49 NASB1995
The second parable in this devotional series is found in Matthew chapter 7 (at the very end of the Sermon on the Mount) and in Luke chapter 6. Jesus compares those who come to Him, hear His words AND act upon them to a man who had built a house with a strong foundation in rock that can withstand a torrent like a hurricane. This is compared to a man who has heard the words and not acted upon them; he has built his house on sand (or ground without a foundation) and the torrent collapses that house and turns it to ruin.
Note that the two men are very much alike: Both have come to Him, heard the words, both are engaged in building a house based on their experience. But only one has acted on what he has heard. Let’s do a Greek bunny trail for act (hopefully easier than Hebrew)! The word used for act/acts/acted is the same root word in Matthew and Luke, according to the Blue Letter Bible: ποιέω or poeio, with many meanings, according to the lexicon:
with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.
to be the authors of, the cause
to make ready, to prepare
to produce, bear, shoot forth
to acquire, to provide a thing for one's self
to make a thing out of something
to (make i.e.) render one anything
to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that
to (make i.e.) declare one anything
to put one forth, to lead him out
to make one do something
cause one to
to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about)
to act rightly, do well
to carry out, to execute
to do a thing unto one
to do to one
with designation of time: to pass, spend
to celebrate, keep
to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover
to perform: to a promise
I have marked in bold print those definitions that are likely the best fit within the context of the verses. The firm foundation of seeing/hearing/acting on the Words of our Lord enable us to be ready for all of the tribulations and trials that this life brings; they also enable His Kingdom to be here on Earth. In the Matthew version of these verses, Jesus has just spent a lot of time telling people who is blessed, how our thoughts can violate the commandments, how we are to pray/give/forgive, that we are salt and light, how we should judge, etc. He has given us a road map to holiness and righteousness. Many who heard that Sermon came and walked away unchanged and forgot it within minutes, others came and remembered what he said but lost the importance when the first minor crisis hits them. However, a few likely acted on those words, changing their lives and other lives profoundly.
I found a fantastic commentary (actually, it’s another parable, but modernized) about this passage in Precept Austin, quoting noted evangelical pastor Chuck Swindoll:
Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until the new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family in the move to Europe for six to eight months, and I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you direction and instructions.
I leave and you stay. Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations. Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival I drive down to the office. I am stunned! Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the receptionist’s room and she is doing her nails, chewing gum, and listening to her favorite disco station. I look around and notice the waste baskets are overflowing, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I ask about your whereabouts and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, “I think he’s down there.” Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office (which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas).
“What in the world is going on, man?”
“What do ya’ mean … ?”
“Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?”
“Letters? Oh, yeah—sure, got every one of them. As a matter of fact … we have had letter study every Friday night since you left. We have even divided all the personnel into small groups and discussed many of the things you wrote. Some of those things were really interesting. You’ll be pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your sentences and paragraphs. One or two memorized an entire letter or two! Great stuff in those letters!”
“Okay, okay—you got my letters, you studied them and meditated on them, discussed and even memorized them. BUT WHAT DID YOU DO ABOUT THEM?”
“Do? Uh—we didn’t do anything about them."
We can go to church and worship. We can read and memorize the Bible. We can even participate in a small group and pat ourselves on our collective backs for having intelligent and effective learning together. But what are we doing about what we have heard? And do our actions prepare us for the storms that can come our way? Build a firm foundation - Come, hear and ACT!
My next devotional examines a short parable found in Matthew 9:16, Mark 2:21 and Luke 5:36: Putting new cloth on an old garment.
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Lord - Help me to come to you daily, hear your Word daily and ACT on your Word daily so that I can build a firm foundation in my faith in You. Amen.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
The personal testimony for Precept Austin and its collections of commentary and sermons is found at the link.