Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 30
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:7:15-23 A Tree and Its Fruit
We come to the last teaching of that memorable evening. Had we not kept the string of context throughout we might be lead to think that the sermon that started out with big fireworks had ended with a fizzle (if we were to disassociate one teaching from another). Having kept the thread going however, we see that end nicely ties the whole evening together.
We have been taken from poor of spirit through a series of benchmarks that helped us to examine a whole host of issues proving man's effort to be corrupt in so many definable ways, through some well known commandments, through some life issues, through some common religious acts, through some areas of judgment and hypocrisy, to most recently the impossibility of man producing the "good" fruit without having first to be grafted into the unworldly spiritual tree. It is clear that by all of this it is intended that the heart of men and women be radically transformed in a way that they cannot do for themselves and be gathered into body that accurately reflects the glory of it's savior and becomes the exceedingly righteous salt of His presence/influence on earth.
What is God doing?
"Jesus had ended these sayings"
He ends on a high note: Whosoever heareth these sayings/whosoever doeth them. The question now is did anybody there that night heareth enough to do them? The answer is no, not even His disciples, not until after His death and resurrection/His verification and ascension; not till the teaching/correction/inspiration of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Whatever they did hear they had yet to fully understand. If they did anything at this point it would be an rough approximation supplied still by their own corrupt resource and determination.
We've said that God has been doing one thing. The one thing had yet to be achieved as of that that evening. If achieving that was as simple as good thorough authoritative teaching on a mountain side, God likely would have delivered this sermon much sooner to Adam and Eve. Think back on it, what sermon did God give the first couple?
"He taught them as one having authority"
We have said that God is walking man step by step through to a very important individual decision. Given man's corrupt nature it is not as simple as advising man to a better way, man nearly has to be proven to be wrong at each step before any chance to agree. In the past even when his sinful condition was proven out and the material consequences of his actions received the corrective effect of God's rebuke seems to last less then a generation; man quickly goes right back at the same or worse thing.
Whatever sense of authority that the people leaving this sermon sensed from Jesus it is by no means the type of authority that will be punctuated by Him in His resurrection.
What is man doing?
"Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not"
My sense is that this caption includes all of us. How people from other religions can think that they know what this sermon means baffles me. How a comparative religion professor in some state university can teach it I have not a clue. It is almost as if one has to be broken of spirit enough to open up and receive it's true meaning. The fact is that the majority of people are not going to "do" because that would mean having to "do" Jesus; Jesus is not something that they are about to do. And those of us who are wanting to "do" know that doing involves bringing our works into the light in order to have them be examined and corrected.
The storm that is to come upon the house we have built for ourselves may or may not be something that happens in our current lives. I hate to suggest that in order for one to come to Christ one must be brought to a personal catastrophe. But, there certainly is the storm that awaits at the Judgment where even those that thought that they had done somethings right for the Lord are turned away. What foundation at that point would remain to even cling hold to?
"The people were astonished at his doctrine"
Perhaps they should be more so!
"Not as the scribes" (Teaching)
The scribes are a good example of those that hear not and do not even though they are hearing and doing a great many things. We have been consistent from the very beginning of this series of devotions to state that man is doing a great many things all of which are corrupted to some extent. These well trained legalists teach an understanding of scripture that avoids the "only Christ can do this in/on/for us, by grace alone, by faith alone, to God's glory alone, as detailed in the final written authority of scripture" doctrine, instead to pickup on the old proven to be wrong doctrines of "not only can man do it, he has to do it before Christ will even come".
Whether it is easier for us to think in terms of a tree and it's fruit apart from Christ or a rock to which all of our hopes are fastened, the meaning is the same only Christ Jesus is the Good Tree and only Christ Jesus is the rock. Man cannot be nor become either Tree or Rock for himself for therein lies the bulk of our corruption.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them".
If anything need be done immediately it would be for each of us to step out into our Lord's light in order to be examined; not as we wish see ourselves, but as God sees us. One will not know what to do and how to do it until he/she be corrected. That correction need not be thought of as a harsh thing, rather as a loving thing.
Next: devotion:Matthew:8:1-4 The Man With Leprosy