Gospel of Luke chapter 6 verses 39-45
My dear Christians and non-Christians alike, and you of all faiths, ideas and opinions and views, I bid you and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery. I welcome you in the quest and task of attaining and coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Do join with me in this voyage where together we can get at and find what is valid and authentic in this very confused world. Come with me in tearing apart the curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts.
Today I will set about once again to explain and interpret another gospel passage, this time found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6 verses 39-45. I do so with great hesitation and humility. I am honored to have the great privilege of even attempting to grasp and comprehend the words and mind of the son of God, the savior of the world and redeemer of all mankind and of all generations, past, present and to come.
The words of this gospel passage are as follows:
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but do not take away the log that is in your own eye? Or 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. For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure, his heart produces good and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
This is a complex and challenging set of sayings of the Lord and requires a good deal of thought, analysis interpretation and explanation. The reference to the blind leading the blind might be seen as two persons encased in sin. Evil and imperfection are in no position to lead each other. Their evil, which is a kind of darkness, will destroy them, causing their downfall and destruction.
Jesus then tells us rightly the disciple is not above his teacher but when he is fully taught, they will be equal and he will be like his teacher. Again, Jesus tells us here of the essential equality of us all when we are taught and fully informed. None when we come to know the truth will be below or above but fully equal, having come to know the good news and having attained salvation and eternal life.
In the next passage Jesus tackles the issue and problem of religious hypocrisy and passing judgment. He tells us here not to judge our brother in focusing on his fault. If you see the speck in his eye, take a close and good look at your own sinful nature and take the log out of your own eye. Then having removed the log that is blinding you to the truth about your sin and your failed nature, you can see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. Our failing and imperfection are the first order of business and our first concern. Then we can judge our brother and remove, or rather focus on his sin and lack. Jesus makes clear that we are not to be a hypocrite and be critical and judge our brother but take a good look at our faults and sins and then, having done so, perhaps take a critical look and judgment on our brother and remove the speck in his eye. It is important to note here Jesus’s emphasis on the log in our own eye and the speck in our brother’s eye. He tells us our sin and faults are perhaps very great and it is only when we see this truth that we can comment on our brother and his faults. Our log blinds us. Jesus tells us to see our faulty nature and when we remove that log, then we can see about attending to our brother’s faults and sins.
Finally, Jesus makes clear that we have a responsibility for our being and doing good or evil. He speaks of the good and bad tree and each tree is known by its own fruit. He tells us again here, continuing the analogy that figs are not gathered from thorns nor grapes gathered from a bramble bush, that the good man from the treasure of his heart produces good and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Jesus makes clear here that we have an ethical and moral responsibility that we cannot evade if we choose good and, better put, are good. If we are evil, that is our choice and who we are. We are and will be known by good or evil fruits produced in the course of our lives and, in sum, there is no excuse. This passage liberates us from the need to be everybody’s judge. It is a warning against usurping God’s role of judge. By contrast, our judgment must be partial and inadequate. We are told we should mind our own business and not meddle. The reference to the blind could also refer to the disciples being blind until their eyes are opened by the teachings of Jesus, or even to all who are blind until being given the teachings of Jesus. In that event all will be relieved of their blindness.
Finally, Jesus says here, in the use of the term “good tree,” that compliance with his teaching can only come from the converted heart to the words of Christ and his commands.
I hope, Christians and non-Christians alike, you have found benefit and insight in this interpretation of this passage from the gospel of Luke. I urge you to return to the biblical text in Luke for which my poor words here are no substitute and do read this passage many times. Only in doing so can any of us fully understand the words and thoughts and events in the life of Christ.