When these stories were told, they were retold and retold and commented upon and retold. That is why the Gospel of Luke is a little different than the Gospel of Matthew. Contrary to the Middle-Eastern teaching method of memorization, the Gospels were told by individuals from their perspective before they were codified into the memorized and retaught scriptures we have today.
That means that when we come across a teaching in one gospel, we can learn a lot to see if it’s any different in the other gospels. That’s what I’m doing with this. Yesterday we saw this parable of the house on the rock from Luke. Today we’ll look at it from Matthew.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’
Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!”’
Again, this is after Jesus teaches about forgiving our enemies and loving them. It’s also after He talks about judging people and bringing judgment on ourselves.
The key difference that Matthew slips in is pure gold. Remember that Luke did research and interviewed a lot of people to put together his Gospel. It has authority and contributes a lot to our knowledge of what kinds of things Jesus taught.
But Matthew knew Jesus. He was right there and knew the smell of His body odor and the unique way that He ate grilled fish. While inspired by the Holy Spirit about how to talk about Jesus’ life, Matthew wanted to emphasize the big deal about knowing Jesus.
Anybody can follow a bunch of laws and do things, but only by faith in the Son of God can you actually come to know Him. It’s a cosmic and intangible thing that makes us do practical and tangible things, for sure.
But when you know Him you know you know Him. I learned a lot about this from my wife. When we look back at how we knew each other 20 years ago, we both remark “I didn’t even know you!” We, of course, are comparing what we knew then to what we know now. But we got married!
We can dive deep into epistemology and the nature of knowledge, but that’s just a distraction. I can cross the Henderson bridge without an engineering degree, and I can grow in my knowledge of Jesus while at the same time realizing how little I know.
But if I see a path to know Him better, like by doing what He said, I’m going to take it. That is the action of knowledge and of growth.