Vs. 28, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching.” Jesus is the master teacher! In our chapter today, Jesus shifts from our treasures and worries to dealing with our relationships with each other. Jesus first warns us about the proper way we are to discern and judge others (vs. 1-5). Question: Are we never to judge anyone? Certainly, we are exhorted to exercise discernment when it comes to false prophets (vs. 15-23) and proper judgment upon those who have sinned in the church (Matthew 18:15-20). Question: What is this type of judgment look like then? When we deal with absolutes and declare others unrighteous. It is not our place to condemn others, for we do not know their thoughts and motives. Only the Lord knows. It’s possible for some to do good works with ulterior motives while others fail to do good works, but with a willing heart. Before we go out to help others, we are to look into the mirror (vs. 5). It’s so easy to judging others without looking at us. The reference to dogs (I’m a dog owner) is negative because dogs in Jesus’ day were not domesticated. To call someone a dog was a insult. The same negative reference is laid to pigs. In essence, Jesus warns us to make a right judgment about giving our time and love to those who have no mind of God (vs. 6). Question: How are we to achieve such righteousness and relationships in the Sermon on the Mount? Pray by asking and seeking the Lord (vs. 7-12). However, as we close the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus finishes with some stern warnings (vs. 13-29) to everyone. Jesus doesn’t gloss over the reality of heaven and hell and the roads that lead to them (vs. 13-14). And as we travel along the road of life, there will false prophets/teachers/pastors/church members along the way (vs. 15-20). It’s important to realize that Jesus wasn’t talking about some obvious pagan religious leader, but those amongst believers and in the church. We also have to bear in mind, many in the church will claim to be believers, but have no mind of God in our churches today (vs. 21-23). Lastly, we see Jesus share the parable of the wise and foolish builders (vs. 24-27). The illustration was intended for everyone to see what foundation they were on spiritually; rock or sand. The crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because He spoke with authority that came directly from the Father through the Spirit (vs. 28-29).
Regarding application…Going Upstream. Vs. 14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Salmon swim upstream on rivers to spawn and multiply. Question: Why? Because that is where they were created. Jesus’ gives us a stark truth; only a few find it (Narrow Gate). The broad and short road certainly connotes a way of life that is easier. In a world where we want to be accepted and loved, it is not easy to live contrary to everyone else. Notice that both the wide and narrow gates come first before the roads. In other words, when we accept Jesus (Narrow Gate), our road will be less traveled. So, this begs our question for the day. Question: Which gate have you entered through? Which road are you now traveling on?