Lord, Lord?

"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

- Luke 6:46-49

Jesus acted like a classical Jewish prophet. He was seen by the common folk of his day to be just that. He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem in general, and of the temple in particular.

In the case above, and its parallel in Matthew, I think Jesus was making a veiled reference to the temple with his discussion of the collapsing "house".

So in the first century context in which Jesus spoke, I propose that his overall prophetic message was something like this.

"Israel - listen up! Repent of your crass nationalism, of your foolish hope that because you are Jewish, or because you have the temple - that all will be well. Rather, follow my way of being Israel. Turn the other cheek to Rome, carry their cloaks the extra mile and love the Romans. If you don't, you'll all be destroyed - temple included. In fact, not one stone will be left standing upon another..."

To act on Jesus' words - that's the issue, eh? We absolutely positively must act on his words.

Of course, interpreting Jesus' message can be a challenge for us in the 21st century western world. But for now, let's just look at the fairly clear statement that we must do some things. Hmmm. We must act - we must do...

What does this mean? Some may say, "Hold on! I thought all I had to do was believe!".

What gives? Anyone care to jump in here? :)

8 comments:

Stacey Juengst said...

I think the greater challenge is to believe. Many do good works in order to prove they believe, rather than doing good because they believe.

We try to build the foundation of our faith on the ground that has alread been laid throughout our lives. Our life experiences have already formed a paradigm that is contrary to the truth. Therefore the key to believing is "digging deep".

We have to dig deep by confronting our beliefs with the Word. Only then will we have a faith that stands the storms of life. We won't question God despite the circumstances that scream his word is untrue.

Believing is the greatest challenge. When we get to a place of childlike faith, we will do many good works he prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10). The works will flow from our belief rather than us struggling to prove our belief.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but I think it depends on what type of people you are reffering to.

Depending on what group you are talking about it is hard to do both. Because when you look at Christianity many believe but don't want to do the works. And others like Non Christians have troubles in having faith in it all.

We need both. And works does not come naturally at all. we have to work for it. That is why it is called works. we have to think about what we are doing and what we are going to do. It takes thinking about something and wanting to do it, to go out and do something that would change the world and bring others to Christ.

I have never thought telling other people about Christ being natural. It is totally outside of my box and what i feel comfortable with. For me it is easier to believe and do nothing. Which is not what I do. I strive to do my best and work at changing people and the world.

works isn't a present that comes along with Faith. If it did James wouldn't of put so much emphasis on it in his book.

Mike said...

Excellent, ladies. IMO, of course, you're both right.

"But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

Anyone care to take a crack at interpreting this passage in both its literary and historical contexts?

Stacey Juengst said...

I believe the house is referring to our faith. Faith that lacks the foundation of the word will crumble in the storms and trials of our life. Faith that assimilates the word into our lives, and lays the foundation. Is like a fire being ignited in us. Our whole life is about God. We become a light, and doors are flung open to share our faith with those who see the light in us.

lowell said...

putting this into a 21st century context is a bit rough I believe too.

Paul touches on this reaffirming on what Jesus had said,

Romans 13:1 "All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. So those who are against the government are really against the government what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves.Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them.

Looking at this as an American is very hard. Nationalism gets in the way and my gun bearing revolutionary heritage gets in the way too. To do what is right though will always appease God who is always in charge. For the most part it will appease our secular rulers.

Looking at passive disobedience might give us some options in how to do what is right in the midst of an oppressive regime, whether its a Pan-European Latin Empire or a two party republic. Daniel living in the courts of Babylon was forbidden to pray to Yahweh but still he opened his window shutters and prayed to Jerusalem, and he proved himself in the Lion's Den. A more modern example would be Gandhi. Forbidden by Britain to gain his own salt in the way his people had done for centuries. He led a massive crowd to the sea in strict disobedience of his foreign oppressors. Both did without fear. Although Gandhi wasn't a strict follower of Jesus he certainly gave us tactics to consider.

I agree with both Stacy and Heather in regards to faith and works. Although the way we follow through our beliefs and convictions is up to us. Our house is up for interpretation. The Temple in the Jewish mind was a source of identity. Both ethnic and nationally. An American temple being the same it was for Jews would be difficult to find. Maybe ours isn't so much a place as it is as a set of ideas.

Individuality-

Suburbia-

Being number one-

I don't know as I said earlier its open to interpretation.

I think I might of strayed from the point of the blog a little to far.

Mike said...

Many think Jesus was cleansing the Temple in Matthew 21 and its parallels. He quoted both Isaiah ("My house shall be called a house of prayer") and Jeremiah ("but you are making it a robbers' den").

But if you go and read the contexts in Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7, you'll find that Jesus was actually pronouncing judgment on the temple by quoting Isaiah and Jeremiah. And this isn't the only time, of course. He did so in a number of ways (Matthew 24 - "Not one stone will be left upon another").

So when I read Jesus saying essentially, "Do what I say, or the ruin of your house will be great" - I'm reminded of his prophetic words against the temple. These are the words that likely got him killed.

You'll recall, of course, that one of the charges brought against him was that he was going to destroy the temple (Matthew 26:61).

So these are the scenes in my mind when I read this particular "Lord, Lord" passage.

But at any rate, no matter what the "house" represents in this passage, how do you all feel about the fairly clear directive to Jesus' hearers that they must act on, or do, what Jesus says in order to escape ruin?

What is the historical ruin that he was talking about? What then, is the ruin that we wish to escape? What was the way that they, and then we, are to escape the ruin?

lowell said...

The epic ruin that I do know of is when Titus came in 70 A.D. and laid siege to Israel.

For people to escape ruin would've taken the Jews to not act rebelliously, and continued to focus their attention towards laying a foundation for the coming Kingdom.

Laying a foundation for the coming kingdom would have taken the "hearers" to get over preconcieved notions of ethnic, cultural, and nationalistic lines.

For us to escape that ruin would take us avoiding the traps that the Jews made by not becoming legalistic, racist, and tying our religious beliefs to our national identity. We do currently have apologist who focus on defending whether or not the U.S. was founded on Christian principles.

Maybe it would take us to refocus and reform our structure and worldview as Christians.

But yeah I don't think I don't have it all figured out. This is going to rack on and on in my brain. Thanks Mike

Mike said...

"For people to escape ruin would've taken the Jews to not act rebelliously, and continued to focus their attention towards laying a foundation for the coming Kingdom.

Laying a foundation for the coming kingdom would have taken the "hearers" to get over preconcieved notions of ethnic, cultural, and nationalistic lines."


Excellent, Lowell. You've rightly understood the meaning of Jesus' words in their proper historical context, and then you've made a strong stab at applying that meaning to our modern situation.

Excellent.

But nobody's bitten yet on the works issue that's apparent here.

What about the commonly-held belief that all you really have to do, is believe?

Can someone restate, in your own words, what Jesus was saying with the question, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

What's the (huge) problem he's getting at?