Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: “… whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” ~ Matthew 7:24
Parable of the Dragnet
“47Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Words to note: dragnet: Back in Jesus’ day, the people who fished, like Peter and Andrew, James and John (2 pairs of brothers, by the way), used large nets with small holes and they were made in a way that they fish would get stuck in the openings in the net (similar to the commercial method of fishing). So, they would drop these huge nets and leave them there for a little while, and then pull them up and pull the fish free from the net. It was pretty hard work, and fishermen were pretty tough and rugged.
In context, it appears that Jesus is telling this parable to His smaller group of disciples, and He uses this word picture to describe His Kingdom and how one day, God will gather all men and judge them and there will only be two categories: those who accepted salvation – the good fish, and those that rejected salvation – the bad fish. The good fish will be kept and and the bad fish will be thrown away.
Words to note: Notice Jesus uses the word good and bad. Both of those words describe actions (or better put - their lifestyles). Obviously, no one is good, but God (Jesus replied to the rich young ruler: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Jesus, who is 100% God, is obviously good and was emphasizing to this young ruler not use that word so casually… interesting thought… So, Jesus is obviously not using the word in that sense. So what does that word imply? This explanation helps me… All of us have broken God’s Law and willfully did things we know are wrong – His law: His commandments. But when we understand that we have broken His Law and deserve punishment, and instead accept Jesus as our Savior and new Leader, then we are no longer relying on our goodness, but on His perfection. So, those who accept Jesus as their Savior and Leader are now seen as righteous, because they are covered by the righteousness of Jesus. And one day, God will send His angels and they will sort out those who are saved from those who are not – those whose sins have been forgiven and cleansed from those who didn’t accept the offer of forgiveness. We should take notice: Jesus notes that those who are not saved will be cast into the “furnace of fire”. Notice also that Jesus said that there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” there. Both Hell and the eternal Lake of Fire are not talked about much these days, but Jesus wasn’t afraid to talk about them, because He knew they are very real places – places of constant torment – it’s like being physically burned all over the body for all of eternity: “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched…” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48) also we will remember our lives and memories ~ Luke 16:19-31 – This isn’t an allegory, a story or a parable – it is a real story (including a man’s real name) about a real place > a very real and very painful place! We need to study and understand Jesus’ teachings on Hell and the reality of eternal judgment and Jesus’ warnings about them, and we need to ask Him to build in us to a heart-attitude of compassion for all who have not made Jesus Christ their leader and accepted that He paid their fine! Those of us who follow Christ also need to be talking to everyone we know about Jesus and His offer of salvation and tell them about Jesus’ standards of righteousness, how He is just and holy and therefore He must punish sin --> Hell. We need to allow Jesus’ words to drive us to action - that is what following Christ means.
Parable of the Householder
“51Jesus said to them, ‘Have you understood all these things?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes Lord.’ 52Then He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’ 53Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there.”
Jesus then asks His disciples if they have understood all that He explained. They replied that they had. Now, since Jesus’ parables are so deep, Jesus knew they had only understood some of the details of what He was communicating to them, so He then gives His disciples a challenge: keep studying these things in the Old and New Testament. And He compares this kind of studying to a scribe – someone who knows the Word of God from serious study.
Words to note: Jesus uses the word scribe. That is an interesting word! See, back then, the scribes were known to be very studied in God’s Word and its themes and principles. It is also a word that describes sincere trust, because Jesus was only explaining these deep truths to His disciples (those who followed Him – traveled with Him – those who were loyal to Him) and not to the crowds. Jesus is offering to entrust His truths to us that we may teach others to walk as He walked. The question then is: Will we obey Him, recognizing the responsibility and privilege of such a task? Remember, He explained these things to those who followed Him… it’s the same today… His qualification isn’t absolute perfection, but just that we would follow in His footsteps – “… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”
Rejection at Nazareth
“54When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’ 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ 58Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.’”
It is amazing to me that not very long after Jesus was talking about the cost of salvation/discipleship, that He Himself would then demonstrate what it look like to be willing to sell the temporary earthly things to gain the invaluable treasure of spending eternity in Heaven. But, that is what He chose to do… After He had preached to the multitudes and then privately explained those things to His own disciples, He then went to His hometown - the place where He grew up, learned how to be a carpenter, and carried on the family business for some time (possibly by himself for a little while without his stepdad – after Joseph’s death ~ some Bible scholars point out that, in some places, he is not referred to as the carpenter’s son, but as the carpenter, also Joseph isn’t talked about again in the years of Jesus’ ministry or even in the small group that huddled at the crucifixion… Even, in the incidence where His mother and brothers came to get Him and try to stop Him from His ministry, Joseph isn’t mentioned… it’s a curious question and an interesting thought to consider.). So, Jesus chose to go back home where He knew He would meet skeptics and misplaced insults.
Yet, knowing that He wouldn’t be accepted, He still, out of love, went and taught the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven in the synagogue, and apparently also healed some people, which demonstrated not only His love, but also the amazing power He had. (He was the Creator of Heaven and Earth in human flesh, after all!)
And yet, what surprises me the most is that even though He was explaining these amazing mysteries about Himself and teaching them, and doing these amazing miracles, the people in His own hometown refused to believe. We see clearly that they astonished based on their own admission: “… this wisdom and these mighty works…” They knew they were seeing something special and instead of embracing it and treasuring it in their heart, as His mother Mary did, they instead said something more or less like, ‘Wow, that was interesting…” and continued to do what they wanted to do… How sad. Their hardness of heart must have grieved Jesus so much. In fact, in Mark’s account of this same story in Mark 6:1-6, God had Mark record this: “And He marveled because of their unbelief…” Jesus was amazed at their unbelief. There is a common English phrase that goes: ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ [doesn’t always work that way, but typically does], and I think that describes Jesus’ situation too. Apparently, these fellow Galileans had seen Jesus do these amazing things and had heard Jesus explain these amazing mysteries for quite a while, but they never let it sink in… They heard it, were amazed, and then stayed the same they were – rejecting Jesus call to repent. And in the case of these people, they didn’t even reject Him because of any past failures of Jesus – He didn’t have any past failures > because He was perfect. They just rejected His message as nothing new and continued to go on with their life… How calloused, how cold-hearted, and how scary! Because in their calloused-ness, they were rejecting the only message that could save them!
I wonder how often we hear God’s amazing truths and calls for repentance and count them unimportant or trivial. Jesus was the One who described that we need to be willing to sell everything to embrace His truth… May God grant us forgiveness for the times that we become complacent, for the times that we don’t care, for the times we are stubborn, and let us choose today to follow Christ, leaving behind whatever necessary, so that we can embrace the true riches and the true Treasure instead of the temporary, fragile, earthly goods… Pastor Charles Stanley explains it this way: ‘Obey God no matter the cost, and let Him take care of the consequences.’ May we take that teaching and Godly wisdom to heart! May we make that our renewed prayer and passion, and when we do, Jesus promises that we will find out what He meant by “… But I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”!