Thursday – Rock and Sand
In today's Gospel, Jesus compares a house built on rock to a house built on sand. The house built on rock possesses a firm foundation. The wind can blow, and the sea can rise, but the house isn't going anywhere. It's steady and solid and able to withstand the worst. The house built on sand, on the other hand, has no solid foundation. When the wind slams into it or the sea rises around it, it has no defense, no means of standing strong, and so it will fall.
These houses represent us. A person who is firm in the faith, hope, and love of God has a solid foundation. No matter what life throws at him, he will remain standing, for God upholds him. He has no need to fear the wind or the sea (i.e., the trials of life). He is rooted in Someone greater than any difficulty.
But a person who lacks the faith, hope, and love of God has no foundation. He slips and slides his way through life, fearing every breeze and every wave, unable to stand amidst trials and tribulations. He relies on himself, but he is not strong enough to cope. So he falls and is destroyed.
This leaves us with an important question: Which house are you?
Friday – I Am Not He
John the Baptist did not hesitate to tell the truth. He realized that the people were looking for the Messiah who was to come, and he understood that they viewed him as the most likely candidate. So he spoke up, immediately and firmly: “I am not He.”
John knew that he was merely the forerunner, the one who was to proclaim the Messiah's arrival and to prepare the people's hearts to accept Him. John's message was repentance. He wanted to scrub the people's hearts clean so they could properly welcome their Savior.
It would have been tempting for John to claim more for himself. The people were ready to give him their allegiance. He could have gone beyond his duty and made himself great in their eyes.
But he didn't. Instead, he declared, “Behold, One is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet.” He made himself small because he knew how great the Messiah was. He decreased so that the Messiah could increase. And when his task was finished, John willingly laid down his life for the Truth he so faithfully announced.
Saturday – Authority
The Roman centurion recognized authority when he saw it. After all, he was accustomed to authority. He was under the authority of others, so he knew how to obey orders, but he also had authority over others, and he expected his orders to be obeyed immediately and without question. When he saw Jesus, then, he identified and appreciated His authority.
Therefore, the centurion didn't hesitate to make his request. His servant was ill, and he asked Jesus to heal him. Then he waited, trusting that Jesus would do what was right, whether His answer was yes or no.
Even after Jesus agreed to come and heal the servant, the centurion continued to rely upon His great authority. The centurion didn't feel worthy to receive Jesus into his home. He was a Gentile, after all, and he seemed to be well aware of his sins and weaknesses. So he told Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Jesus looked at the centurion in amazement, recognizing his humility, faith, and trust. He praised the man and announced that one day Gentiles like him would share in the Kingdom of Heaven. Then he told the centurion that he could go, for his servant was healed. Again, the centurion trusted and obeyed. And indeed, his servant got well at that very moment.
Do we, like the centurion, trust in Jesus' authority? Do we have the same faith, humility, and obedience? Do we truly believe that Jesus knows what is best for us and will do it? Are we open enough to receive His miracles?