37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. Forwith the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye’, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 foreach tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[c] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
There is a system in the world where one tries to accrue wealth. We often invest with the promise from our broker that we will be markedly richer because of it. We give as little as possible in the hopes that we will receive as much as possible. Jesus turns such self-preservation on its head. We are to give generously and without a high regard of self.
The Pharisees as teachers are in the cross-hairs here. They were training those around them to be like them as if they were the pinnacle of what it means to be human. However, Jesus warns about becoming like such teachers. They teach for mastery of their own perspectives, they do not teach for mastery of life. A personality flaw in these teachers is that their methods are built around correcting others without a view to correcting themselves. Such a view is dangerous because it develops hypocrisy and promotes a legalism in the community. I have personally fallen foul of people who buy into a spirituality that is built around drawing attention to others’ sin without evaluating a person’s individual growth.
To be like Jesus is to take a radically different approach from other religions. It does not build on the self, but deconstructs the self and reconstructs it around one person. The true self is the self that dies to self. The false self is the self that tries to build self into an icon to be praised. In giving ourselves away, we truly find ourselves.
I am proud and self-focused in ways that I honestly do not want to deal with. Help me to break down the resistance and live the life to which I am called.
- To whom is Jesus speaking?
- What theme does he repeat for them?
- What is Jesus’ view of the Pharisees? Does he love them? How?
- How does the teaching affect you?
- What is Jesus asking you to do?