wise or foolish? Matthew 7:24-27

At the end of the sermon that Jesus preached on a hill, he spoke of a wise man and a foolish man. They both built houses; the houses both experienced the same storm. One house stayed up, but the other fell down. Our Lord Jesus was not giving advice to engineers.

Jesus was talking about life; to build a ‘house’ in this story is to live a life. He said, “Anyone who hears these words of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” The words he refers to are the words of the sermon he was just finishing. In it he made it very clear that we are morally bankrupt (“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you in no way will enter the kingdom of heaven”). We cannot fulfil the laws requirements because we are sinners who are already condemned. We need a Saviour to do everything for us. We need rescuing from ourselves. Jesus alone provides the righteous life we lack; he alone removes sin and guilt because he took the judgment of the condemned in the place of his people.

Jesus had just described the final judgment, when he will be the judge. Those who pleaded their ‘good works’ as reason to be accepted were rejected as evil doers, as people Jesus did not know.

The wise man is the one who trusts Jesus: Jesus’ life and death and resurrection are the sinners’ only hope; he is the rock. The word for rock used here is the same as the word in Matthew 16:18 — “On this rock I will build my church.” The wise man has been made wise unto salvation by God’s word and the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. These alone bring a person, any sort of person, to faith in the Lord Jesus.

If you tell people you trust Jesus and him alone as your hope, it is fairly certain you will get a good deal of mocking. But Jesus says that even if everyone else calls you a fool, He will liken you to a wise person. And He is the one who counts.

As for the foolish man, we are told that “Anyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who builds his house on the sand.”

Do you see the change? (It is not found in many modern versions of the Bible, but it is found in the vast majority of Greek manuscripts.) The change is from Jesus (alone, perhaps) likening one who trusts him to a wise man, to everyone seeing (in the end) the foolishness of someone who has heard the words of Jesus but does not trust him.

May we all give prayerful and careful attention to Jesus Christ as he is shown to us in the Bible. He is the one we must trust.

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Where is the word ‘Jehovah’ in the New Testament?

This post is not a contribution to the debate as to whether the word ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’ best represents the Hebrew name for God. I’m pursuing a different line of argument. The name for God is transliterated as either ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’, and it appears all the way through the Old Testament, and in the KJV – for example – it is most often represented as the capitalised word, ‘LORD’. My question is: where is the word ‘LORD’ in the New Testament?

I have an answer. Whenever the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned, whenever He is called ‘Lord’, we have presented to us Yahweh or Jehovah in the flesh (incarnated). There are so many reasons why this is so, but I’ll give you only a few. The rest will leap out at you, I trust, as you read the Bible attentively.

Matthew 1:21:- when Joseph (Mary’s fiancé) was informed of the coming birth of Jesus, (Joseph knew it wasn’t his baby), he was told that he should call the baby ‘Jesus’ because he, Jesus, would save his people from their sins. Jesus’ name means, ‘Jehovah (or Yahweh) saves’. In Isaiah 43:11 we read, ‘I, even I, am the LORD (Jehovah), and beside me there is no Saviour.’  At the beginning of the New Testament we are given this very big hint regarding Jesus’ true identity. There is no Saviour but Jehovah, and Jehovah-Jesus is that Saviour. Again, in Luke 2, we are told by the angels that in the City of David is born a Saviour who is Christ, the Lord. So we have the words Saviour and Lord linked by a very impressive group of messengers. The birth of no other deliverer in the Old Testament had such an introduction to the world. This was no mere creature (Mary had already been told that the holy one to be born of her would be called the Son of God). This was the incarnation of the LORD.

Two more incidents will do for this post. Our Lord Jesus in John 10 spoke of himself as the Good Shepherd and referred to all others who came before him as thieves and robbers. As the good shepherd, Jesus would lay his life down for the sheep (meaning his people). In Ezekiel 34, we find the LORD speaking against the bad shepherds who were not looking after God’s people. Here, in verse 11-13, the Lord God says, ‘I Myself will search for my sheep as a shepherd seeks out his flock… and deliver them… bring them out from the people and gather them.’ If that is not enough of a parallel to establish the link (that Jesus is Jehovah), then what follows should do it. In John 12:41, after speaking of the way that the religious leaders saw the signs that Jesus had done yet still did not trust themselves to him, John referred to the passage from Isaiah 6, where Isaiah saw the glorious Jehovah, ‘high and lifted up’. John’s comment is significant. He said that these leaders did not trust Jesus because Isaiah had prophesied that they would not. Isaiah had spoken these words, John says, after seeing Jesus’ glory, that is when he saw Jehovah’s glory.

Our Lord Jesus is Jehovah God, the good shepherd, the Saviour.