Final Words from the Sermon on the Mount

The Wise and Foolish Builders (vv. 24-27)

Jesus closes his Sermon by contrasting the wise builder and the foolish one.

Trials and temptations are inevitable, but only those whose lives are built on the rock will prevail. Those who build on the sand will see their lives collapse around them. The poor foundation can be unrighteousness or self-righteousness. Either way, the result is the same: their house fell with a great crash.

Christ offers each of his listeners a choice. Who and Continue reading “Final Words from the Sermon on the Mount”

The Key to the Kingdom (vv. 21-23)

Christ builds on his comparison between a false and true prophet by offering a contrast between a false disciple and a faithful one.

Jesus shocks his audience by telling them that on Judgment Day, many people will claim that they did all kinds of good works—even miracles—in his name. These people will insist that their actions entitle them to enter the Kingdom. But Christ will tell them they are not and never have been true disciples: ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (v. 23)

It’s remarkable that seemingly good things done with selfish motives are—in God’s judgment—evil. Continue reading “The Key to the Kingdom (vv. 21-23)”

A Tree and Its Fruit (Matthew 7:15-20)

The Sermon on the Mount concludes with five contrasting images. The second one is a simple yet very practical metaphor comparing fruit trees and religious leaders.

Jesus of Nazareth came to a religious culture that had exchanged relationship for rules. Israel’s leaders had become arrogant and judgmental. They condemned Jesus for not observing their strict religious laws, for consorting with sinners and for claiming to be the Son of God. Isn’t it ironic that Continue reading “A Tree and Its Fruit (Matthew 7:15-20)”

The Narrow Door (Matthew 7:13-14)

The Sermon on the Mount concludes with five contrasting images. The first one concerns the entry point for his Kingdom.

Jesus proclaims that the gate and road to life are narrow and that most people choose the wide path that leads to destruction. The choice is not simply between good and bad, but rather between life and death.

We would be mistaken to think that the door and the path represent religious rules. They do not. Rather, Jesus himself is the Gate (John 10:9) and the Way (John 14:6).

Christ is not telling Continue reading “The Narrow Door (Matthew 7:13-14)”