Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

3 things wise disciples do to build unshakeable houses (Luke 6)

3 things wise disciples do to build unshakeable houses (Luke 6)

The second half of Luke chapter 6 is one of the most powerful passages of Scripture. I am moved, challenged, and motivated every time I read it. I read it again today. Here are some of my thoughts.

Loving, Giving and Forgiving

Luke 6 contains difficult teaching for followers of Jesus.[1] Jesus teaches that we are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27-28). We are to “turn the other cheek” and we are to give to everyone who asks something of us. Moreover, if anyone takes something that belongs to us, we should not demand its return (Luke 6:29-30). We need to act on this teaching with wisdom; nevertheless the principles still apply if we truly want to be Jesus’ disciples. Being a disciple is not always easy!

In short, Jesus tells us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and he tells us to be merciful just like our merciful Father who shows kindness to everyone, even the ungrateful and wicked (Luke 6:31, 35-36).

Jesus’ disciples are not just given instructions in Luke 6:27ff, Jesus also gives us promises, and a warning. We are promised a great reward and the astounding privilege of being called children of the Most High. The warning is that God uses the same measure in dealing with us that we use in our dealings with others. Now that’s something to think about!

How generous and gracious are we towards others? We will be wise if we heed these words of Jesus: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:37-38).

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish People

Luke 6 closes with Jesus telling the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock and foolish man who built his house on the sand. Jesus prefaces this parable by asking a sobering question: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Jesus then goes on to say that a wise person is “everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them” (Luke 6:47). Three things are necessary if we want to be wise disciples: coming to Jesus, hearing Jesus’ words, and doing what Jesus’ says . . . even the difficult things.

The wise person in the parable who built his house on the rock also did three things. He began by digging; then he excavated more deeply; after that he placed the foundation of his house on rock. The three steps are clearer in the Greek text of Luke 6:48.[2]

Digging  →  Going deep  →  Placing a foundation on rock
Coming  →  Hearing   →   Doing: Putting Jesus’ words into practice

If we want a strong, unshakeable house we need to be continually doing all of the three things that Jesus spoke of: coming, hearing and doing.[3] Coming to Jesus without hearing is not enough. Hearing his words without doing them is not enough. And doing without coming and hearing is ill-advised. Yet, it might just be that the actions of putting Jesus’ words into practice are the very things that give our “house”—our lives in Christ—its firm foundation.

If we want to be true, wise disciples of Jesus we need to keep coming to Jesus, keep hearing him, and keep putting his words into practice. Then we will be like the wise man who built a strong, unshakeable house on a secure foundation.

This post is dedicated to my friend Cecilia who puts Jesus’ words into practice and works with poor women and children in Pakistan. Please contact me here or here if you can make a contribution to her ministry. Cecilia is hoping to purchase an LED television which would be an excellent asset for her ministry.


Endnotes

[1] The passage on discipleship begins with Luke 6:12-16 where Jesus summons his disciples and, from them, selects the Twelve. In verse 17 we are told that Jesus’ disciples were a large crowd; no doubt many women were part of this large crowd.  Jesus’ teaching applies equally to men and to women.

[2] There are three verbs in the Greek of Luke 6:48: eskarpsen (s/he dug), ebathunen (s/he went deep), ethēken (s/he placed or laid), but the meaning of the first two verbs are combined and not distinct in most English translations such as the NIV, KJV, NRSV, NASB, ESV, etc. Only a few translations make a distinction between the first two verbs. Compare translations of Luke 6:48 here.

[3] The Greek words for “coming” (erchomenos), “hearing” (akouōn), and “doing” (poiōn) in Luke 6:47 are present participles which indicate a continuing action.

Image is of Gaspe Perce Rock in Quebec, Canada © Kevin Miller (iStock #3324465)


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Posted April 19th, 2014 . Categories/Tags: Christian Living, ,

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4 comments on “3 things wise disciples do to build unshakeable houses (Luke 6)

  1. I agree, even though we shouldn’t take these verses literally to become doormats and let people walk over us or take advantage of us. Yet understand the principles behind the context and strive to apply them even though it won’t be easy and at times we all will stumble and act upon what is natural instead. Interestingly, shortly after reading your post and reading Luke 6:29-30, in the bible and trying to understand the full meaning I stumbled upon a disturbing article that I debated writing about but decided to in the end as it relates slightly on the verse. Anyway, this article dated back in February in England, where a young man of 19 was teased hand hassled buy two girls ages 16, and 15 who called him Harry Potter because of his nerdy appearance, he responded by grabbing a vegetable knife from his apartment and met the girls again at the park where more words were exchanged and he snapped and reacted with violence stabbing one girl in the face and repeatedly beating the other. He was arrested and convicted to four years in prison. To make a long story short, many have commented blaming the girls for his reaction and some have even condoned and praised his actions while condemning the girls as bullies who got what they deserved. It also turned out he was bullied in school too. I myself was outraged but many of the comments that I read supporting the boy and giving him all the sympathy while giving the girls who suffered physically and were scarred zero sympathy. I don’t condone anyone’s behavior in this situation and believe two wrongs don’t make a right, but the more I read it it made the think the three wise things you pointed out mainly turning the other cheek, pray for those who mistreat you. Yet in today’s society many confuse showing self-restraint as tolerating abuse and a weakness while resorting violence as a strength. Maybe society needs more than ever to come up with better solutions to solve conflicts and bad behavior and striving to follow the three wise things is a good step for followers in Christ to help defuse these outcomes despite the negative opinions of others.

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