Today’s Chocolate: Vosges Burnt Caramel Dulce de Leche
Today’s Passage: Matthew 7
The first two chapters of the Sermon on the Mount are easy enough to summarize. Matthew 5 deals with good and evil, suffering, and forgiveness; Matthew 6 concerns preoccupation with wealth. But how would I sum up chapter 7? I’m tempted to call it “a grab-bag of Jesus’ clever metaphors, sayings, and one-liners.” If there’s a single thread running through them, it’s beyond me to find it. But I can always hand-pick a few verses throughout that got my attention. That’s what we’ve got today, folks.
As the sermon nears its conclusion, I observed that Jesus turns the focus back to himself. He tells his listeners, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (21). In this scenario, Jesus acts as heaven’s gatekeeper; although he doesn’t explicitly mention a gate, he’s turning away these would-be followers and telling them to depart.
And when he uses the word “Lord” here, it’s not necessarily as in “the Lord God.” It simply means a master or one in authority over another. But that would describe God, and although these would-be entrants into the kingdom recite their good, even miraculous deeds performed in Jesus’ name, still he tells them, “I never knew you” (23). It’s knowing Jesus that gets you in the door, and there are plenty who claim to know him without having the real relationship to back it up.
He concludes the sermon with a parable describing two house-builders, one wise and one foolish, and the foundations they build on. But what does the solid bedrock, the wise man’s foundation of choice, represent in this parable? Jesus’ teachings. The teacher gives himself center stage, and the people pick up on it; Matthew notes, “The crowds were amazed at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (28-29). Scribes know better than to extol their own wisdom. In the Psalms and Proverbs, David and Solomon emphasized not the greatness of their teaching, but the fact that all wisdom ultimately originates with God.
And that’s precisely where Jesus puts himself. This isn’t his most overt claim to divinity by a long shot, but as he declares that those who neglect his words will be destroyed just as thoroughly as a beach shack in a rainstorm? Let’s just say he exhibits no shortage of chutzpah.