Jesus Has Authority

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “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.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:1–29, ESV)

Judging Others? Check Yourself First

This passage is sometimes misused as a way to say that no one has the right to question or critique anyone else. However, this passage does not say not to judge. It makes a couple of points that must be considered before one judges another. It is easy to be critical of others without being critical of ourselves and the parable Jesus used to illustrate this point teaches that we have a tendency to demand more from others than we are prepared to deliver ourselves. The type of judging condemned by Jesus is the critical judgment of a fellow believer because critical judgment out of malice penalizes the believer. Verse six does not contain an imperative, but a statement of recommendation. The exercising of discretion is not the type of judgment Jesus condemns because one has to make a judgment about swine.

The Good Father And The Golden Rule

Subjects of the King must remember that they are to be dependent on God. Asking, seeking and knocking are all points of application. Jesus uses an argument from the lesser thing to the greater. If human beings can grant requests, our good Father will certainly give good things to those who ask him for them. The golden rule should be seen in light of the narrow way. Holiness will be demonstrated through the fruit of righteousness. One may give the appearance of piety, godliness, and spirituality, yet not belong to the kingdom God. False prophets are like wolves dressed as sheep. God’s people, on the other hand, are to be like healthy trees which bear good fruit. Fruit does not save someone, but it is evidence that they belong to the king.

I Never Knew You

Verbal affirmation that Jesus is Lord does not guarantee that one belongs to the king or knows him. Lives of obedience serve as proof of citizenship. This startling warning from Jesus reminds us that some pastors and exorcists will not enter into the consummated kingdom. Signs and wonders can come from sources other than God. These external demonstrations prove nothing. Knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are two entirely different things, and there will be many on the day of judgment who will discover that works and religion cannot save you, only Jesus can rescue sinners.

Hearing Is Not Enough

Those that belong to the kingdom must build on the right foundation so that when the test comes, the strength of our foundation is proven by our standing. When one obeys Jesus, even storms cannot destroy them. However, for the hypocrite or religious counterfeit, the storm will destroy the house, and the fall will be great. The distinction here is not between those who hear Jesus and those who do not, but between those who hear and obey and those who hear but do not obey. As Jesus' sermon comes to a conclusion, the people are amazed at his teaching. He did not teach like the scribes and refer to other Rabbis and their practices. Instead, he taught with authority because he is the word of God and he has the authority to speak for God because he is God.