24 “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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Jesus contrasts two types of people. Those that hear Him and listen, and those that hear him and do not listen. One is wise, the other is a fool.
Jesus wants us to understand that obeying Him is a better foundation than disregarding what He says. From His point of view there is a greater stability to life if we live to His standards and within His boundaries. He uses the visual imagery of a building foundation to help us see this truth.
You may have built a castle in the sand at some point in your life. Or at the very least you have seen this on television or in a video. Someone can labor for hours to build a masterpiece to see it quickly washed away as the tides change. The problem with sand is that it has no cohesion and acts like a liquid when exposed to water. When the water rushes onto the sand, it separates and spreads out. Because it has no cohesive properties it is not sturdy or solid. For this reason, Jesus equates the person that would build a house on such a foundation as a fool.
Although foundations have been made from a number of materials — stone, block and even treated wood — reinforced concrete is used in the vast majority of new homes.* Even after all these years the best foundation is made of stone. When it is exposed to the elements it remains solid and sturdy. Therefore, Jesus says, the person that chooses stone as a foundation is wise.
Building A Life
If Jesus is drawing a correlation between building a house and building a life, we cannot help but wonder what the equivalent spiritual foundations are to sand and stone.
Let’s look at the follow verses to shed a little light on the subject:
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
As you can see, Jesus is not afraid to make bold statements. This declaration that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life” is the reason He can say it is wise to listen to Him. Jesus considers Himself to be the embodiment of truth. Is it any wonder then that He considers it wise to listen and obey and foolish to hear and ignore Him?
In our American culture, we find it difficult to accept the notion that there is such a thing as universal or foundational truth. Many people approach life with the idea that whatever is right for someone else is not necessarily right for them. We have adopted a live and let live mentality. In the philosophical world, this is called relativism.
Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual. This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are truths that are relative to the individual. Under the umbrella of relativism, whole groups of perspectives are categorized. In obvious terms, some are:
† cognitive relativism (truth) – Cognitive relativism affirms that all truth is relative. This would mean that no system of truth is more valid than another one, and that there is no objective standard of truth. It would, naturally, deny that there is a God of absolute truth.
† moral/ethical relativism – All morals are relative to the social group within which they are constructed.
† situational relativism – Ethics (right and wrong) are dependent upon the situation.**
Relativism is the equivalent to building a house on the sand. The boundaries are constantly changing with the introduction of variables. There is nothing to unify what is true. Every time there is an introduction of a new person, new ideas, new preferences, or a new point of view, the playing field and the boundaries change. As relativism has permeated our culture, many live with the false notion, that legal equals moral. There are groups of people on both sides of every issue trying to demand recognition of their point of view through the legal system.
Jesus’ claims not only contrast, but also confront, this way of thinking. By claiming to be the embodiment of truth, and then drawing a contrast between those that listen to Him and those that do not, He has laid the groundwork for absolute or foundational truth. He is showing us a truth that does not change as more people are added to a group; or gives way to meet the individual preferences of people; or gives equal weight to all belief systems. He is telling us we must choose.
Given the many claims Jesus makes about himself we must decide how to respond. Some people are comfortable writing Jesus off as a good person but not putting much stock in Him as a religious leader. Others are willing to identify Him as a religious leader but consider Him to be no different than any other religious leader.
While this is a noble sentiment, it is hypocritical. In the few verses we have explored in this chapter we see that Jesus claims to be the embodiment of truth and that he calls people fools that would hear Him and choose to discount or ignore what He has to say. Here is a list of other claims made by Jesus:
† He is the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64)
† He is the giver of eternal life (Matt 16:13)
† He forgives sin (Mark 2:10)
† He is one with the Father (John 10:30)
† He is the door of salvation (John 10:9)
† He is the Messiah (John 4:25-26)
† He is our savior (John 3:14-17)
These are claims that you and I cannot ignore. We cannot consider Jesus to be a good person to the exclusion of all these claims He has made. If these things are not true, He is a liar and a deceiver. We cannot consider Him equal to other religious leaders to the exclusion of His claims to be one with God and to possess the power to forgive sin. If these things are not true, He is nothing more than a madman. If Jesus is not who He says He is, then we cannot take anything He says to heart.
That leaves us with a decision to make. Do we believe that Jesus is who He says He is or do we not?
An Invitation To Follow
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He offered a simple invitation to the original disciples, “Follow Me.” From that time forward He has been extending that same invitation to all who hear God’s redemptive story.
As I stated earlier. Every one of us must make a decision about Jesus. To either accept Him or reject Him? You may want to, but you cannot ignore the claims He has made about Himself. If you have not made a decision or feel like you do not have enough information I want to encourage you to sit down and talk with someone that can begin to help you find answers to your questions. Perhaps the pastor of a church or a friend that attends church regularly.
My prayer is that you have or will choose in the affirmative. We want to help you move from believing to becoming. From believing in Jesus to becoming mature in your faith.
We are currently offering a free copy of our devotional 28 Ways To Experience God, when you sign up for our email list. Signing up for this list will give you access in the future to exclusive content not offered on this website. We also have over one hundred articles on this site for you to search through.
If you have specific areas of interests, obstacles, or questions you would like us to explore, please leave a note in the comments or drop us an email.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”