Red Letter Year: 7/10

Luke 6:39-49

39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

41 And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

43 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

46 So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Comments

After telling us not to judge, Luke’s version of the sermon talks about blind guides and then moves to discuss good fruit versus bad fruit. This can seem like it contradicts or balances out the prohibition on judging, but that really misses the point here. Judging is the bad fruit. If you find yourself in a habit of judging others, then you are producing bad fruit. This is a really hard teaching in its own right because we all do this. It’s near impossible to think about these things and compare different interpretations (and the lifestyles that come out of those) without deciding what is good fruit and what is bad fruit. This is a good thing to do with regard to ourselves, but not with regard to others. Those we have entrusted spiritual authority to can also help us examine our fruit, but only carefully and only with permission. If we can’t see the danger of judging others, then we really are blind and have no business trying to guide others.

I think v.46 is one of the most important in this whole sermon. Jesus makes it clear that he is still addressing  disciples – people who are calling him Lord and thus claiming to be his disciple. He says in no uncertain terms we have not made him Lord until we do what he says. Until we give to everyone who begs from us. Until we love our enemies and do good things for them. Until we are compassionate and forgiving and kind – especially to selfish and ungrateful people. If we can do this, we will build lives that are secure against any hardship. If we can’t, it would be better if we had never heard his teachings to begin with. But we have heard. So, let us produce good fruit as Jesus emables us.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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