As we have been seeing throughout our sermon series, Jesus uses questions regularly to know and connect deeply with people. This week in particular, Jesus’ question shows how much he presses the hearer to fuller self-exploration. Jesus aim is that we grow to be clearer about our own sin and brokenness so that we might enter into a more reliant dependence upon Jesus.
The graphic image Jesus uses makes obvious the absurdity of trying to help someone else when we have a huge obstacle that prevents us from being able to help. Underneath the idea of trying to help, Jesus’s wants us to see how blind we are to our own issues and how much we need help.
We need someone to help us because our problem is huge. Instead of criticizing someone else or approaching the world with the idea that we understand the problems and have what it takes to fix them, he wants to convince us of our inability and to be in a state of longing to have our problems addressed.
It is only when we are able to acknowledge our huge issue and turn helplessly to the only One who can cure us, that we begin to have any opportunity to begin to help anyone else. We must start there just as earlier in the Sermon on the Mount (this text is toward the end) the Beatitudes start with step one of the spiritual life that prepares us for blessing and health: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Until we know our spiritual bankruptcy, we are not ready for any further steps in the spiritual journey.
Once we see how much of a mess we are and how amazingly gracious God is to seek us out, gently calling us back to looking to him for help and healing the broken places in our lives, then we can begin to help others. We no longer see them with judgment but see our own mess in them and understand how much- like us- they are in need of the same merciful help from Jesus. We do not presume to be able to fix them through our criticism and correction but gently help them come to Jesus to be loved and compassionately led to see their need for him. We become fellow travelers in looking together to the only One who can take the mess of our lives and make them whole again.
In preparation for the message this week, read not only the passage we will study - Matthew 7:1-5 but also the following texts that address this theme:
Our weekly worship guide can downloaded here.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.