Matthew 7:24–29: Building on the Rock
As Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount, he closes with his clearest statement of self-revelation to date. Here, Jesus declares that salvation is only possible by hearing and doing “these words of mine” (vv. 24, 26). No longer does Jesus speak only generally of ways and gates, false prophets and fruits, nor even of the will of his Father alone. Now, Jesus speaks of himself, and insists that he alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus’ authority becomes so clear through these passages, that the people are astonished as the contrast him against the scribes they were used to hearing teach (vv. 28–29). In this concluding passage, Jesus declares that he is the faithful foundation on whom God’s people should build their lives, as well as the faithful Lord over his people. That is, Jesus is faithful under and over God’s house.
1. How does what Jesus says in vv. 24–27 compare with what he has been saying since Matthew 7:13? How does the specific contrast that Jesus gives in this passage contrast with the contrasts that came earlier? What does it mean to “do” Jesus’ words? What does it mean to “build [your] house” in this context? What is the “rock” that we will build our houses, if we do Jesus’ words? Where have you learned to trust in Jesus’ faithfulness in the midst of storms in your life?
2. What is the “sand” that Jesus warns about in v. 26? Why do you think people would be so foolish as to build their lives on sand, as Jesus mentions? How have you seen yourself lured into trusting in false hopes in your own life? What makes sand so attractive to us? What particular kinds of sand are you most susceptible to trust? Why are those plots of sand so inherently unstable and incapable of protecting us when storms arise?
3. How did the people respond to Jesus’ teaching? What should we learn from their response? How does the authority of Jesus compare to the scribes? How does the authority of Jesus compare even to that of Moses, from whom the people of Israel received God’s Law (Heb. 3:3–6)? How are you tempted to devalue the importance, significance, and authority of Jesus in your own life? Why do you think that is?
4. If someone asked you to give a short summary of the Sermon on the Mount, what would you say? What key points have stood out to you through these nineteen studies? As you think about the whole Sermon, how does Jesus’ teaching about the law fit in with his comforting words not to be anxious (Matt. 5:17–48; 6:25–34)? How do the Beatitudes fit with Jesus’ closing exhortations (Matt. 5:1–12; 7:13–27)? What main application will you take with you?