The Gospel of Luke

Our Foundation

This devotional is written by Lisa Titchener. Lisa is the Youth Worker and Demonstrate Coordinator at St Mary's. She's married to Rich and Mum to Aoife and Niamh.

Luke 6:37-49

Judging others

37 'Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.'

39 He also told them this parable: 'Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

41 'Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, "Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye," when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

A tree and its fruit

43 'No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

The wise and foolish builders

46 'Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.'

Reflection

You don't need experience in construction to know you should start any house with a solid foundation.

In ancient Israel/Palestine this required monumental effort. Villagers would build in the summer months to guarantee the warm, dry days needed. But the sun would bake the soil, which, with its high high clay content, turned into something resembling rock. Backbreaking work, day after day, under a hot, cloudless sky. Taking a tool to ground like this it's understandable why you would want to skip the foundation.

It's only when the rain comes and the clay softens that the house starts to sink. The walls bulge, then buckle and the whole house collapses.

In stark contrast the house next door remains standing. Its owner put in the hard graft to dig down and start construction on solid rock.

Jesus' parable echoes Isaiah 28:14-18 - a prediction of Israel's destruction by the approaching Assyrians. Isaiah describes how hail will 'sweep away' Israel's refuge (their protection agreement with Egypt) and 'water will overflow' their shelter. Israel had put their trust in the military power of Egypt instead of God. Isaiah continues by saying the sovereign Lord will 'lay a stone... a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation' (v16). The 'precious cornerstone' Isaiah is talking about is Jesus (Ephesians 2:19-21, 1 Peter 2:4-6).

Much of Jesus' teaching in Luke 6 is difficult to hear and even more difficult to actually do. Like digging through hardened clay. Choosing to love those we'd rather loathe (v27) and not to judge  or condemn others but to forgive generously (v37, 38) won't protect us from the storms of life.

But when we listen AND act (v47) on Jesus' teaching, we build our lives on a relationship with him. Our meaning and security is found in Jesus. Whatever comes our way, we will not be shaken.

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