Last evening the Life group which my wife, Leonora, and I host discussed Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-29) guided by The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups’s questionnaire for beginning groups.
MT 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
MT 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (NIV)
The questionnaire was divided into two parts, Looking into the Scriptures and My Own Story. For each I allowed five minutes for members of the group to answer the five multiple choice questions in it and then we shared our answers. Between our doing the two parts, we discussed The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups’s DIG question on the parable. My Own Story’s being personal, I won’t report here on our answers to the questions in it.
Looking into the Scriptures
1. Today’s forecast in my life is for: – This question’s being personal, I won’t share our answers here.
2. Who is Jesus describing in this passage? – We chose “a crowd faced with a big decision.” I noted that although the parable was addressed to Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 5:1-2), the passage observes that “the crowds were amazed at his teaching” (NIV).
3. The rock Jesus recommends as a strong foundation is: – Although most of us chose “Jesus himself,” we agreed that “faith expressed in action” was also a good choice.
4. The sand Jesus refers to is: – Although most of us chose “the world’s values,” we agreed that “wishy-washy commitment” was also a good choice.
5. The point of this story is: – Although most of us chose “if you don’t follow Jesus, spiritual disaster will follow,” we agreed that these options were also brought out in the story: everybody builds a house somewhere, everyone will experience storms, and survival depends on choosing the right foundation.
(Question) How do the similarities and differences between the two house builders reflect the people who heard Jesus? What kind of commitment is Jesus calling for here? What is the alternative? (Used by permission of Serendipity House, Littleton, Colorado 80160)
(Answer) Both house builders built a house, and all the disciples (and people) heard the words of Jesus. One house builder built his house on a rock and the other built his house on sand, and some people put the words of Jesus into practice and other people didn’t put his words into practice. Jesus is calling for complete commitment here. The alternative is lack of or wishy-washy commitment. (This is my answer edited after the group discussion of the question.)
Before our discussion of the parable, Leonora led us in singing and prayer and Ray Noble, our church’s Voice of the Martyrs’s representative, shared the account of a persecuted Christian. After our discussion of the parable, Ray led us in prayer for our prayer requests and Leonora served us lunch.