37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” 39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
The clear theme for this section of scripture is Jesus calling us to be fair in the way we see and treat others and not be hypocritical. He calls us to treat others the way that we would like to be treated, take care that we are not “blind” before we lead others and to be careful when we criticise others that we are not guilty of the same thing that we are being critical of.
I love the way that Jesus teaches these popular moral principles by starting with a serious supposition “judge not, otherwise you will be judged” and then moving to a slightly silly example of 2 blind people moving one another. The intention of humour then becomes blatant when Jesus paints a picture of a man with a piece of construction-grade timber sticking out of his eye.
There are two things that this passage stirs in me. The first is the importance to remind myself that Jesus was an amazing teacher, but he was also much much more. How often do we emphasise the “moral teaching” of the bible and inadvertently water down its salvation message?
The second and equally important point is that Jesus and God have a sense of humour. History seems to have taught that religion is serious business, and as a result, we can miss the opportunity to laugh with God when it is clearly part of his nature to enjoy jokes, satire and the ridiculous.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware