1. Vs. 36 is the theme for vss. 37-42. But vs. 36 is a "hinge" vs. It looks backward to vss. 27-35 about loving enemies. God, in His mercy and compassion, loves even those who hate Him. Cf. Jn. 3:16. But vs. 36 also looks forward to vss. 37-42. God forbids judging that destroys. He forbids cheating others. Loveless people are spiritually blind. How can they lead others? Loveless people, who do not see their own sins, become hypocrites. They condemn in others what they allow in themselves. Ps. 118:1 has often been called the summary of the OT. It occurs about twelve times in the OT. It reads: "Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good because His mercy endures forever." He is good in the sense that He is merciful. Vs. 36 of our text says: "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful." only Christians are addressed here. They say "Our Father, Who art in heaven." They are the redeemed people who have faith in Christ. The Jews never speak of God as their Father. Vs. 36 tells us not who we are but what we should be. The adjectives are in the predicate.
2. Vs. 37 forbids only destructive judgment, Jesus said at Jn. 7:24: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." He is not contradicting I Cor. 5:12; I Jn. 4:1 or the disciplinary judging of the church, Mt. 18:17.18; Jn. 20:23. He does forbid self-righteous, self- exalting, hypocritical judging. At Jn. 8:15 Jesus said: "You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. And if I do judge, my judgment is genuine because I am not alone but I and the One Who sent me." Meditate on Jn. 12:46-48: "I (Christ) came [as] a Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me does not remain in darkness. And if someone hears My utterances but does not observe them, I don't judge him, for I've not come to condemn the world but in order to save the world. The person who rejects Me and does not receive My utterances has that which judges him; the Word which I have spoken that will judge him on the last day."
3. God has given us courts so that justice is done. That's the meaning of Ps. 82:6, quoted at Jn. 10:34: "You are gods." Judges and courts are gods, appointed by God to establish justice among people. God has given us the church and pastors to show us our sins so that we might repent. God. has given us parents and teachers to guide us and to discipline us when we wander. Jesus is not talking about that in vs. 37 of our text. He's talking about sinful judging like that of the self- righteous Pharisee in the Temple. Lk. 18:9-14. Are we guilty of unjust and destructive judging? Our Confessions say again and again "The Law always accuses us." But the Gospel always forgives us.
4. Vs. 38 involves us in a market illustration. In the market, grain (usually barley) was sold in bulk, not packaged, form. An honest merchant would weigh out a generous portion for the buyer. Then the buyer would pull up the bottom of his outer garment, like an apron, and the merchant would deposit the barley in the garment which served as a bag. Honest merchants sold generously. That's the point. Jesus is saying: "Deal generously with people and God will reward you." He's speaking of Christian living, not the way of salvation. These generous deeds don't save us. Jesus already did that. We should be like Him. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
5. Vss. 39-40 contain two axioms, general truths understood everywhere. Blind guides can only produce blind followers. And, don't expect pupils to rise above the level of what they have been taught. In application this means: If you are merciless, judgmental and stingy, you will produce people who are merciless, judgmental and stingy. You teach what you are. A serious student who has a competent teacher will also be competent. Like begets like.
6. Vss. 41-42 contain a highly exasperated illustration: If a person has a beam in his own eye, how can he see the splinter in a neighbor's eye? He cannot. Jesus is speaking about the hypocrite who is blind to his own great faults but picks at the little faults of others. Read Lk. 18:9-14; I Jn. 1:9-10; I Tim. 1:15.
Theme: Everyone Who Is Well Trained Will Be Like His Teacher
Our theme. is vs. 6 of our text. The teacher is Jesus. The pupil is the Christian. In the fall (Gen. 3) man lost the image of God. But the image of God is restored in the Christian (Eph. 4:20-24). The Christian is not sinless. He still has the old man. But a Christian is renewed. He also has the new man. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Lk. 6:20-49) speaks about the renewed man.
I. THE CHRISTIAN IS WELL TRAINED ABOUT HIS OWN NATURE. Vss. 41-42.
A. There are no exceptions to vss. 41-42. Rom. 3:23 reads: "All have sinned and do now fall short of the glory of God." Read Rom. 3:10-18 for a description of all people. They are like St. Paul before he was converted. They are like the Pharisee in the parable, Lk. 18:9-14. In vss. 41-42 Jesus asks two questions, first a "why" and then a "how." Then He calls that person a hypocrite, a person who professes one thing but does another. Jesus is here talking about ALL people, both Christians and non- Christians. One of the differences between Christians and non- Christians is that Christians admit that they do what Christ says in vss. 41-42.
B. Jesus says "YOU see incorrectly" "YOU speak incorrectly."
1. All people are like the person in vs. 41. They keep looking at the sliver in the eye of others, the petty little faults. But they have a beam in their own eye, a very large fault which makes them blind. In one way or another all of us do this.
2. All people are like the person in vs. 42. The best picture of this vs. is the Pharisee in the Temple, Lk. 18:9-14, who said: "God I thank Thee that I am not like other people" and then he proceeded to list those other people. The worst was the Publican who could hear what the Pharisee was saying.
II. THE CHRISTIAN IS ALSO WELL TRAINED BY HIS SAVIOR. Vss. 36-40.
A. He has learned to know the mercy of God. Above we quoted the first part of Rom. 3:23. It goes on to say of all who have sinned: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." The Christian constantly confesses that he sins. But he also believes that he is justified freely by God's grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." St. Paul is his great model. Read I Tim. 1:12-17. The merciless and brutal Saul became the repentant and believing Paul. How? God showed him two things: his sins and the atonement of Christ. Our text says: "Be ye merciful just as your Father is merciful." Paul became a merciful man and so can you.
B. He has learned not to be judgmental about other people. The Christian has become a new creation (II Cor. 5:17). Old things are gone. He realizes that all men are lost. He pities them as God pities them. He knows that all men have been saved and redeemed. He does not dwell on their faults but tells them to repent of their sins so they might get rid of their guilt and faults.
C. He has learned to be generous like the person in vs. 38 in our text. This vs. pictures the merchant in the market who does not cheat people but gives them an overflowing amount of barley for their money. .He becomes like God who gives, gives, gives. He gives glory to God because God gives him so much. Paul's last word to the pastors of Asia at Miletus were: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." And he explains what he meant by that. Acts 20:18-35.
D. He has received good spiritual eyesight. Vs. 39. He has learned the Word of God. He has been taught by his Lord. He can lead the blind.
Everyone who is well trained will be like his teacher. Jesus and His Word are your teacher. Now go out and lead the blind, give to the poor, don't be judgmental but speak words of grace to those who need it.