Monday: Architectural Wisdom

Read Matthew 7:24-27. What do these verses contribute to our understanding of Christian discipleship? Why do you think Jesus used this example from nature to teach such a crucial truth?

Image © Pacific Press from

Image © Pacific Press from

Modern literate societies take literacy for granted. However, even today, numerous nonliterate societies exist. Throughout ancient history literacy was the exception rather than the rule. Ruling classes, literary specialists (scribes), obtained their power through their skill in reading. Thus, Jesus framed His messages within forms that everyday, nonliterate people could understand. (Obviously, literate listeners could also understand them.)

Prior to Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, manuscripts, in most places in the world, were handwritten-a time-consuming process. Relatively few could afford to obtain such valuable commodities. Therefore, oral communication through legends, parables, and similar devices became the standard for the conveyance of information.

God offers salvation for the entire human race. Should it be surprising, then, that Christ used those forms of communication that could reach the greatest number of people? Oral tradition, transferred from generation to generation through simple stories, became the currency of redemptive thought.

Read Luke 14:27-33. What lessons can we glean from these stories? How do the metaphors here illuminate our understanding of discipleship?

Building entails preparation. Cost estimates are developed long before actual construction commences. Discipleship likewise involves preparation. Miraculous feedings, spectacular healing, and apparent success could lead prospective disciples to assume that following Jesus was easy. Jesus encouraged His listeners, however, to study the complete picture. Self-sacrifice, suffering, humiliation, and rejection constituted considerable costs. Notice once again that Jesus chose to convey this message using metaphorical language when He could have just offered a checklist of specific drawbacks that His disciples might encounter.



Monday: Architectural Wisdom — 7 Comments

  1. "Notice once again that Jesus chose to convey this message using metaphorical language when He could have just offered a checklist of specific drawbacks that His disciples might encounter." That seems to be a major quality of metaphors. They tend to convey principle rather than specifics.

    For instance, this last week I was talking to my sister and she mentioned THE antichrist. Being someone from another denomination she was thinking in terms of a single person or power. John, however, saw it in terms of quality rather than quantity. When he said, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour" (1 Jn. 2:18 NKJV) he was referring to what the character of the antichrist was not how many there would be.

    That same thing seems to be what metaphors basically do whether they are parables or allegories. To me that is the power of metaphors and why the prophets often chose to describe the visions they saw rather than interpret their meaning.

  2. In Christ Jesus days on this earth,He uses metaphorical language in his teachings.In this sense,God has given us salvation through his son Jesus Christ.In our daily lives we cannot stay without shelter,food,accommadation and other basic needs.Especially building of tower is very essential to us in our race.But before someone can build a house,there must be measures put in place.

  3. All of us remember principles well when a word picture or story to which we can relate is used to teach the principle. In life, we remember lessons we have learned with the accompanying circumstances and experiences we were having at the time. Thinking in word pictures is how God created our brains to think and retain knowledge best.

  4. Following Christ is not a trial basis, we must be committed, Jesus wants us to think about what it would mean to follow him, and not take it lightly, we must be ready to face suffering and rejection like he did for us. And just like how his Father was there for him, he will be there for us. By doing so, one day we will be rejoicing with him.

  5. Indeed, that people, somehow grasp onto a metaphor, and most importantly--the message behind it--so much more readily, than saying things specific to them, is a so very much more effective--and sometimes comprehensive--form of communication. Well put, by the comments above.

  6. [Moderators note: Please use your full name.]

    Matthew 7:24-27; Wise Man and Foolish Man
    What does Matthew7:24 contribute to our understanding of Christian discipleship? There are three things identified in this verse; House, Rock and Sand. We learn that a House represents human and the rock represents Jesus Christ and the Sand represents the Devil according to my understanding. However, our understanding of Christian discipleship is that we should build our lives on Jesus Christ who is the Rock not on the Devil who is Sand that can be easily destroyed.

    Why did Jesus use the example from nature to teach the Truth?
    Jesus used the example of nature simply because we are surrounded by nature, everything that we touch or use is from nature. E.g. the Rock when a person looks at the rock, it will surely remind about the preaching of Jesus.

    Furthermore, Jesus realized that only those who could read and write we able to understand his message. He thus framed his message through legends, symbols and parables in order to reach a great number of those who could not ready and write.

    Finally, we come across Luke 14:27-33 that focus on the cost of being a Disciple. The chapter explains that discipleship involves costs, as a disciple you need to prepare for these costs.

  7. I had to pause and really think about the parable of the house on the rock/sand recently. I visited Christchurch where my mother and sister live. Christchurch suffered a series of devastating earthquakes a couple of years ago which has seriously affected the whole city.

    We went for a drive on my last visit to Christchurch to see how it had changed in the meantime. Christchurch is mainly built on the flood plain of large rivers, and the city is largely built on accumulated sand, silt and river gravels. No wonder that when the earthquake came the buildings fell down as the ground was largely unstable. However on the eastern edge of the city is an old volcanic plug of very solid rock and the houses built on the rock fell down too. Even today it was quite chilling to look up into the hills and see the unoccupied wrecks of houses teetering on edge.

    The building in the city itself where most of the casualties occurred had been built with some serious defects and was well under specification. The buildings that survived were in the main built to be flexible and could move a bit without breaking.

    Neither rock or sand foundations afforded protection but buildings built to the appropriate specifications survived the test of the earthquake. I am sure that I do not need to spell out the meaning of the metaphor.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *