When I was kid I can remember often hearing my parents say the phrase, "Because I said so." I always hated that phrase but as a parent I understand it better now. I think there is the obvious reality that there should be good reasoning for things but also that as a parent you tend to have the best interest in mind for you children. You want to keep them safe, help them be brave, help them cope, and help them grow. I also realize now that there is a responsibility to help and take care of a child that in turn gives the parents an authority that should be respected. When Jesus is teaching in His famous teaching known as "The Sermon on The Mount" in Matthew 5-7, Jesus gives a lot of great Kingdom wisdom but the most amazing part is that in Matthew 7:28-29 what people are most stricken by isn't just the content of the teacher but the authority in which He taught. The more I study the more I realize Kingdom wisdom isn’t just about the principles. It’s about the Source. It’s about Jesus.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." There is a dangerous and common misconception that Jesus wiped away things from the Old Testament but Jesus states that He didn't come to throw out the past but to fulfill all of God's promises and hopes for His people. In fact as Jesus teaches about things like anger, lust, greed, relationship, and much more He doesn't throw out the laws but He enhances them to be more about our hearts and not just about having a list of do's and don’ts. Kingdom wisdom is deeply concerned with a changed heart not just changed behaviors. Jesus even helps simplify things in Matthew 7:12 " So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Essentially He sums it up to if you treat others the way God treats you then you will be good because God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithfulness, and forgiving to us...even though we don't deserve it.
Now all of this wisdom is interesting and leads to Jesus’ teaching Matthew 7:13-14, "“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." In this teaching Jesus is essentially saying it’s a wide road to live how you want and without submitting to me but it leads to destruction, but to follow me and my ways is a narrower and more difficult path, BUT it is SO WORTH IT.
If you read the very last teaching in The Sermon on The Mount which is Matthew 7:24-27,we find Jesus teaching about something He would have firsthand knowledge of...carpentry. He teaches on the idea of a wise and a foolish builder and that the difference between the two is the foundation in which a house is built upon. Jesus ends with this teaching because He wants us to understand that if our foundation isn't upon Him and His ways then when storms come in our lives that our lives will continue to fall apart. Jesus wants us to realize that we cannot have the Kingdom without the King. Nor can you serve the King without seeking the Kingdom. We need both His authority as King and His wisdom and ways to be our foundation. If we think back to Jesus' statement that He came to fulfill things then we can think of things like this, Jesus’ authority was in his fulfillment. In a Kingdom, only a King has the ultimate authority.
So my friends my hope and prayer is this that we may take seriously the words of Jesus' brother James from his book and may we "not merely be hearers of the word but also doers". I know it sounds difficult and impossible but Jesus promises that "what is impossible with man is possible with God." In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, God made this promise (below) to His people, let’s pray that we can experience it.
"I'’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands." -Ezekiel 36:25