Saturday, August 21, 2010

Building It ROCK-Solid!

Rocks have had a significant and pretty huge impact on the human race. We have been using it for more than 2 million years. The human race has managed to utilize this material ingeniously over the years and we've even managed to come up with the prehistoric Stone Age when humans first used stones for tool making.

Okay, for description's sake, a "rock" is commonly used in reference to a large piece of rock which could be anything from a size that you would have difficulty lifting with one hand up to a very large boulder bigger than your house. A "stone", on the other hand, is used in reference to a small rock that might easily be picked by one hand. Rocks are bigger than stones.

Building with rocks dates back to the beginning of human history. Various cultures have left interesting evidence of their craftsmanship with stone masonry. Since rock is an abundant, indigenous, long-lasting material, it is not a surprise that our ancestors came to know the value of it. Although building with rock is no longer a very popular thing these days (according to Kelly Hart, a natural builder, it's presumably because we don't see them delivered in construction sites as perfect rectangular shapes that builders can easily stack up one on top of the other), the bible did mention about being wise and building one's house on a Rock.

We know the story very well. Jesus was the one who told the story in Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49) KJV

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27) ESV

There is more to Jesus' story than just a wise man who built his house on the rock. He was not talking about just the material aspect of building the house on a rock. A deeper meaning to what He has mentioned may be seen as we read the bible exhaustively. Let's look into this wiser way to build our house, shall we?

I'm sure you are familiar with 1 Corinthians 6:19 which says 

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own," (ESV). 

As christians we have been taught that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which literally means that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Now Hebrews 3:6 reiterates this as it says that we are "God's house."

"but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." (Hebrews 3:6) ESV

Please allow me to say at this point that you should understand that the New Testament was originally written in Greek and it helps a lot if we look closely into what Greek words were specifically used in the verses as they could vary a lot in form and meaning. Here's a good website I use to study the bible with some Greek references: I usually go to where it says "Lexicon" to get the breakdown of the verses. Okay, with that said, let's get back to how Jesus told the story of the wise builder. 

He said that a wise man builds his "house" upon a rock. The greek word used for house in this verse is οἰκίαν, oikian which is from the word οἶκος, oikos. This literally means a house or a dwelling. When we read of us being God's house in Hebrews we will find that the Greek word used for "house" in this verse is also οἶκος, oikos. So then, when Jesus talked about the wise builder's house he isn't just talking about the literal building, he was talking about our "Self", our lives. We live our lives as wise or foolish depending on where we build it upon! Are you following?

Now Jesus differentiated the wise and the foolish builder because of where they built their houses. The wise one built his house upon a "rock". Interestingly, the Greek word for "rock" in this verse is πέτρᾳ, petra which is a primary word that means a large mass of rock. Do you want to know which other verse we can find this word? Check this out:

"For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

As Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, he explained to the believers in Corinth that what happened in the time of Moses in Scripture took place for our example. I love how he explained that the spiritual Rock that the Israelites drank from was "the Rock who was Jesus Christ"! Guess what Greek word was used in this verse for "Rock"? Yep, you're right! It's πέτρᾳ, petra.

Here is another familiar verse:

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) ESV

When we delve into the original Greek words used in these verses, we will see a very interesting revelation. The Greek word for "rock" in this verse is very much like that in 1 Corinthians 10. It is πέτρᾳ, petra which meant the "large mass of a rock". Peter's name, on the other hand, has a Greek word Πέτρος, petros which means "a stone". The Greek word petros is described as akin to petra. If you want to understand what "akin" means, it is defined as "having a similar quality or character. It is not the the primary word petra. Peter then was a "stone" which only bears a similar character as that of Jesus. Contrary to what I used to believe in, Jesus mentioned in Matthew 16 that upon HIMSELF will he build his church. 

To understand this better, here's another verse in the bible that explains how believers, like Peter, can only be a "stone" in the church:

"As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. " 
(1 Peter 2: 4-5)

You don't need a degree in Theology to understand this verse. We ourselves are like living stones being built up as a spiritual house for God. The verse continues to show us that we are built up as a house to offer acceptable sacrifices to God THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!!! Understand that if you build your life upon your career, or your family, upon friends, upon hobbies, upon entertainment, and upon your own skills and abilities, Jesus Himself tells us that we're just foolishly building on sand.

So then, as we build our "houses" - our lives on this earth, let us look back into the bible and learn that it is ONLY upon building our lives in JESUS CHRIST will we become able to withstand the winds and waves that this world has for us...

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39) 

May you be blessed now and always with God's Truth from His Word. 
My prayers are always with you.

With much love....

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin