Orthodox America


   Scripture Commentary - From the Explanation of the Gospel of Matthew


Blessed Theophylact

Therefore whosoever heareth these saying of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  (Matt. 7:24-25)

No virtue can be accomplished without God, which is why Jesus said, "I will liken him unto a wise man."  The rock is Christ and the house is the soul. Therefore nothing will shake the man who builds his soul upon the doing of Christ's commandments.  Neither the rain, which is the devil who fell from heaven, nor the rivers, which are mean and harmful men filled to overflowing by such a rain, nor the winds, which are evil spirits, nor, in short, can any temptations cast down such a man.

And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  (Matt. 7:26-27)

Speaking of the man who believes but does not act, Jesus did not say, "I will liken him to a foolish man."  Instead Jesus says, "He shall be likened" on his own account to a foolish man.  Such a man builds the house of his soul upon sand, that is, with no deeds to provide a stable foundation. This is why it collapses under the blows of temptations. For when temptation beats upon it, it falls with a crash. Unbelievers do not fall, for they are always lying on the ground.  It is the believer who falls.  Therefore "great was the fall", because it was a Christian who fell. Blessed Theophylact (An excerpt from The Explanation of the Gospel of Saint Matthew by Blessed Theophylact, Chrysostom Press, P.O. Box 536, House Springs, MO 63051)

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