Saturday after the Second Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV)
7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
This entire reading makes the point that our words and deeds should be based on nothing but the sure foundation of God’s holy Word that is profoundly manifested in Christ and His life, death, and resurrection. As Lutherans this text should be especially dear to us, for we confess that the holy Scriptures are the only rule and norm for faith and life, and that the Lutheran Confessions are a true exposition of those Scriptures.
Jesus points us back to the Old Testament prophets who often presented God as accompanied by a mighty tempest and the Master of all the elements of the Creation. His example of a man building on unstable sand instead of solid rock is reminiscent of God’s condemnation of false prophets found in Ezekiel 13. This comparison becomes especially telling when Matthew ends the historic narrative with the people’s astonishment at Jesus’ authoritative teaching compared to the faltering teaching style of their scribes.
The scribes were supposed experts in the Law, but much of their doctrine was based on secondary sources rather than God’s Word. They often quoted rabbis and traditions rather than expounding on clear references to Scripture. This is not unlike what we see today where so many in Christianity study and preach from authors of pseudo-theology, psychology, or pure fiction, while seldom touching on the pure Truth found in the holy Scriptures. One doctrine comes from the only rule and norm for faith and life, while the other doctrine comes from something far less authoritative.
Lord Jesus, multiply Your mercy on us that, with You as our Teacher and Redeemer, we may be founded on the solid Rock, and thus pass through things temporal in such a way that we lose not the things eternal. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.