The Wise and Foolish Builders
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Observations & Reflections
Jesus’ sermon on the mount and this current parable about the wise and foolish builders is one of the passages in the Bible that are considered to be from a document source called Q. The gospels of Luke and Matthew both contain passages that are in common with Mark. This should be expected since Mark was written first. However, Matthew and Luke contain a few passages that are not in Mark. That means that Matthew and Luke must have had an alternative source. It is possible that Matthew or Luke copied from each others but even in that case, one of the two would have had an alternative source other than Mark. The passage in Matthew is very similar to Luke but not exact, which leads one to believe that they probably had the same source document.
“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. 22Many 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?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practiceis 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.” (Matthew 7:21-27)
The main difference between Matthew and Luke seems to be the context leading into the parable. In Luke shows Jesus teaching about the present tense. Matthew, however, depicts Jesus speaking about “the end”. Matthew also gives a more detailed account. However, both accounts has the same message. If you claim to call Jesus Lord but you do not obey Him, then you are not actually a Christian. You are deceiving yourself.
Jesus’ words sound harsh at time but it’s a simple principle. You cannot be a Christ follower if you do not follow Christ. James, the brother of Jesus reiterated this lesson.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25)
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:14-19)
The lesson by both James and Jesus are also a reflection of another teaching given by Jesus which is; a good tree produces good fruit. If one is not producing good fruit it’s because they are praising Jesus with their mouth but not in their hearts.
[Featured image of the aftermath of Galveston, Texas hurricane of 1900. House on Avenue N]