Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.
Jesus’ expression changed, becoming serious as he said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
I repeated “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” to myself. Recognize them from their contrary lives, that say one thing and do another? I also have to wonder, am I producing good fruit or bad?
Then Jesus chilled me as his voice rose, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Around me, the crowd began to murmur. What did he mean?
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Jesus would reject people!? Why?
Hmm, ‘I never knew you,‘ that was it. You had to have a relationship with Jesus, not just do as he said. Why bother to do what he said at all then?
Jesus answered my unspoken question. “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. 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. 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Quietly to myself, I said, “He has to actually be my Lord, relationally and obedience-wise. I have to follow him over what I want.” A lot of Jewish teachers told a similar story, except they put the foundation on God’s Law the Torah; where Jesus is…placing his teaching on the same level?
The crowd noticed it too. I heard them as Jesus walked towards us. “He teaches with authority, not like other teachers,” was said a lot.
Most teachers cited other teachers who supported their line of thinking. Jesus didn’t. He said, “Truly I tell you…” on multiple occasions. He even closed his sermon by ranking his message with God’s law.
This is definitely different.