Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 18, Isaiah 62, Matthew 7
The teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s gospel are, in todays’ chapter 7 especially, very black and white. They apply just as much today; you are either on the side of Jesus – or you are not! If you are not – you are against him.
Jesus tells them, “”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing …” [v.15]. A genuine ‘prophet’ is one who speaks on behalf God – and this does not only apply to foretelling the future, although it can often ‘picture’ the ultimate future which will be the outcome of our reaction to the ‘genuine’ prophet.
Such a prophet is one who speaks for God, bringing his word: it does not have to be one who foretells future events, although often his words include reference to God’s ultimate judgements – the outcomes of the way, good or bad, in which humans choose to live their lives.
There is just a “broad way” or a “narrow gate” [v.13] – nothing in between, no other option for our journey through life: nearly everyone today is choosing the “broad way.”
Jesus warns, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” [v.16]
Fruits!? That is, the outcome of the teaching of these false prophets. When we come to Matthews’ 23rd chapter we will see how bluntly spoken Jesus becomes, provoking their determination to get rid of him. “You … outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. [v.28]
Back in ch. 7 we notice how, from v. 22 Jesus begins to refer to “on that day” – it becomes evident that he is referring to the day of his return and the resurrection. “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Jesus then teaches the parable of building houses. One is built on sand – and one on rock!. Clearly he is referring to how we “build” our lives! In v. 26, 27 we read of those whom Jesus “never know” who are to “depart from” him – and this has an eternal sense . These, says Jesus, are those who “hear these words of mine and does not do them” they will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
What are we building our lives upon? What is the foundation to our thinking – and resultant actions? What will Jesus say to us when he returns – and how soon now!? Let us make sure, by the way we live our lives that we will NOT say “Depart from me.”
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