Beware False Prophets & Disciples; Learning Under Jesus

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.

Matthew 7:15-29

Radical Dependence; Learning Under Jesus

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. Enjoy.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Seriously? I don’t think I ever heard a teacher teach such radical dependence on God.

Which of you,” Jesus waved his arm over the crowd, “if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

My father was a good provider, and it makes sense that God would be an even better provider. A loving parent doesn’t give their children anything that can harm them.

So in everything,” Jesus bore down on ‘everything’, “do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Really? Well, I don’t want to dishonor my parents, kill anyone, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet people’s things. That’s six of the commandments that focus on my behavior towards others. That’s actually a very nice sum up.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Now, this is different. We’ve been taught most Jews would be saved. Yet Jesus is saying most would be lost because the way is narrow. How do I know where the narrow gate is!?

Matthew 7:7-14

Passing Judgment; Learning Under Jesus

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.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Rang out over the crowd. Jesus continued, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

How I judge others is how I’ll be judged? This kind of ties into the issue of forgiveness. If I’m condemning someone, I’m most definitely not forgiving them. And Jesus did say, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Jesus raised his hand to his eye, saying, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye…” He gestures for Peter’s staff and holds it up to his other eye, “and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

The crowd laughed.

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

The laughter died down. That was pretty clear, I cannot condemn another until I realize the depth of my own sin. To confront them, I have to confront myself in that area. Self-righteousness doesn’t have a place in it.

Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

What? This part isn’t judgment in the form of condemnation, but judging the right course to take. Dogs are unclean scavengers, so don’t give them what’s sacred? Pigs we have nothing to do with, they eat slop and roll in the mud. They wouldn’t appreciate anything that is valuable.

Was that it?

Like the proverb says, “do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” So you have to wisely choose who to share the kingdom with?

Matthew 7:1-6
Matthew 6:14-15
Proverbs 23:9