“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.”
Jesus ends the sermon with a promise in a sense. He says essentially if you put into practice what I have said in this sermon you will withstand everything that comes at you. That doesn’t mean that it will all go your way. It doesn’t mean you will be successful by the world’s standards or that you will be in a particular economic or social status. But it does mean that at the end you will be with Him, on the narrow road and sanctified.
In this last post on this story I want to consider something that I think often gets lost when we read this. And that is the last part where Peter and Jesus talk about the disciples and what they have left to follow Jesus.
Following Jesus’ teaching on how only God can let people in and that if you don’t surrender all to Him you won’t get in, Peter responds. You can see the wheels turning in Peter’s head. He says, “We have left everything to follow you. What will there be for us?”
I’ve seen a lot of conversions (or arguments might be a better word) about the inclusivity of Christianity. Some say that Jesus was all inclusive. Others say that it is a narrow road and that the Kingdom is actually very exclusive. I want to offers some thoughts on this.
First I think that our current culture inclusivity it a sort of virtue. It seems that many want everyone to be included in everything. There is a lot good about this idea. Far too often people have been left out, or even kept out, of opportunities and experiences that they should not have been. That’s a fair critique of parts of our society. So everyone wants everyone to be included. I think that’s a good desire.
The flip side of this is that not everyone is the same. People don’t all have the same skills, talents and even desires. And, no matter how we might try to rig society we will never have equal outcomes for all. It’s literally impossible and extremely unreasonable. And frankly a dangerous plan.
But the real question as a Christian is what does Jesus teach and what does He say about the Kingdom in this regard? Here are my thoughts.