17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.”
In order to judge ourselves and those who lead us, Jesus simply suggests that we look at the “fruit” of our lives. Anyone can look or sound like they are faithful, Godly, compassionate or merciful. But in the end, it is the day to day, minute by minute actions, speech and attitudes that make for an authentic life of faith. And an authentic life of faith leaves a trail of peace and joy. It bears fruit in real and lasting ways.
What “fruit” is my life bearing?
Hear my prayer, Holy One…that I might bear good fruit in…
21 “Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 On the Judgment Day, many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name and expel demons in your name and do lots of miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I’ll tell them, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you people who do wrong.’
In this harsh statement Jesus warns that someone can seem genuine in their faith but still lack intimate communion with Christ. Instead of creating fear, Jesus seeks to compel us beyond just looking and sounding like Christians. Jesus compels us to true transformation – the transformation that this sermon demands.
How are you being challenged to transform by Jesus’ sermon?
Hear my prayer Holy one…know me…. know my…
24 “Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock.”
As Jesus makes his final appeal, closing his sermon, he tells a parable. He says, “What I have taught you about life with God, you must hear, and you must put into practice. If you do, you are like a wise builder.” The parable suggests that Jesus’ teaching provides firm bedrock for our lives.
What teaching of Jesus creates bedrock for your life?
Hear my Prayer Holy One... for the storms raging in my life over…
26 But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed.”
For seven weeks we have read and pondered the words of Jesus. We have begun a new year reflecting on how to put Jesus’ words into practice for a closer life with God. As the sermon ends, Jesus leaves us with a cautionary image of lives, families, communities falling apart, being swept away for lack of solid ground or bedrock. All because of faulty building, relying upon shifting sand. Take care, Jesus says. Take care how and where you build your life. Take care that this new year begins on the solid rock of Jesus’ teachings.
Where do you see the sand shifting in your life?
Hear my prayer Holy One…for the strength to stand as...
28 “When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching 29 because he was teaching them like someone with authority and not like their legal experts.”
Jesus’ sermon is finished. Difficult words have been spoken and a higher more complete ethic has been demanded. Jesus casts a vision of life with God that radically changed the early church and the world. The Gospel tells us that the crowd felt the power and authority of Jesus words. The question hangs in the air – will they respond? Will they enter into such a way of life and be transformed?
Do Jesus words still amaze? Still hold authority?
Hear my prayer Holy One...that your words might change me in…