Torstai 20.9.2018
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Tuonelan kohdusta minä huudan apua, ja sinä, Herra, kuulet ääneni. Joona 2:3

Building on a solid foundation

in English 24.11.2015 12:00 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
Jesus’ public ministry began after he had been baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist. This occasion was witnessed by God in heaven: ”This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mat 3:17). After His baptism Jesus went into the wilderness to prepare for His ministry. He fasted for 40 days, and after that the enemy tempted hungry Jesus in many ways. Jesus fended off the enemy by quoting God’s word from the scriptures. He finally drove away the enemy, and angels came to serve Him.
Soon Jesus was told that his predecessor John had been killed. He called a group of disciples to follow Him and began to preach. His instruction and activity attracted a lot of attention, and crowds of people gathered to listen to him. What we now know as the Sermon on the Mount was His first and best known public speech.

From the very beginning Jesus’ instruction involved the use of parables and verbal imagery. His parables referred to everyday objects and events and were therefore easy to understand. Another essential aspect was that He knew the holy scriptures and explained and interpreted them as ”one who had authority” (Matt. 7:29).

Houses are made for security 

The Sermon on the Mount is concluded by a parable of two different builders. It summarizes Jesus’ instruction and addresses each listener personally. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

The parable tells us of two builders. One of them was wise and the other foolish. It is easy for the listener to choose which one to identify with. Through this identification the listener almost becomes part of the story. The wise builder built his house on rock, the foolish one on sand. Each completed their house, and everything seemed to be fine. 

But then the weather changed. There came a storm. Rain, floodwater and wind lashed against the houses and the ground and began to erode the sand. The foolish man’s house collapsed, and the family were left without shelter. There was serious damage. The wise builder’s house did not suffer damage, because it had a solid foundation.

The building alone is not enough

According to the parable, faith should be based on a foundation that endures even in trials. Throughout history people have held differing views of what is the correct faith. Many people feel that it is not important how you believe as long as you believe and acknowledge that there is a God. If this were true, why did Jesus warn so seriously against building on a weak foundation? 

Paul later underlines the importance of a solid foundation in the same way as Jesus did. “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.” (1 Cor. 3:10–14)

The building is also important, but without a solid foundation not even a sturdy building will stand in trials, and certainly not at the Last Judgement. 

Foundation on Christ

At the end of the parable of the builders Jesus underlines that it is not enough only to listen, but we must also live as we believe.  And we must believe as He has instructed us with the authority of God’s power. Even a weaker building endures if it has a good foundation. Righteousness of faith is based on Christ, the salvation He prepared for us, His word. 

Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was. Then he continued by addressing His disciples:  ”But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered: ”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15–16)  Jesus founded His congregation on this confession. It will endure because its solid foundation is the salvation that God prepared in His son Jesus Christ. Jesus also authorized His congregation to proclaim this message when He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

The parable teaches us to make good choices. It invites us into fellowship with Christ. The salvation prepared by Christ will endure the storms of the world, and it will one day bring us into the peaceful haven of eternal life. 

Text: Mikko Uljas 
Translation: S-LL
Source: Siionin Lähetyslehti 11/2014

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