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 and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. A Tree and Its Fruit 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
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 Justin Ware