Two Builders, Only One Foundation

Read: Matthew 7:24-29

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (vv. 28-29)

Most theology books are based on works by other theologians—you can read about them in the footnotes and bibliographies at the back of the volume. This was the method of the scribes. They taught by citing authorities. Not Jesus. He taught with authority, and his listeners had never heard anything like it.

Running throughout Jesus’ teaching is a refrain that went like this: “You have heard that it was said of old, but I say to you . . .” Jesus is saying, in effect, “The law and its various commentators said this, but now I am telling you this. This is what you actually have to do.” It’s not that he denies or contradicts the law, it’s more like he personally claims the authority to explain the law’s deepest meaning. Jesus talks like somebody who is “above the law,” not in the bad sense of the scofflaw who thinks it doesn’t apply to him, but in the good sense of the lawgiver who knows that the law itself derives its authority from him. When we listen to Jesus’ teaching about right and wrong, and good and evil, we are listening to the very source of all goodness and morality.

And he insists that we do more than just listen. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them” will be building on the rock. —David Bast

As you pray, ask for strength to be a doer as well as a hearer of the Word.

About the Author

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.