Jesus is a year and a half into His ministry when He sets aside the Apostles. He has about 18 months to train them. To teach them the most important truths and prepare them for the task of laying a foundation for the church.
In the first part of Luke chapter six we learn that love is concerned with the eternal welfare of others. That concern is manifest in using everything at our disposal to magnify the gospel so that the enemies of the gospel might see and believe. Or, to put it another way, The first rule of engagement with an enemy of the gospel is love, manifest by our hospitality.
What follows from Jesus’ commandment to love is very interesting.
With His eyes still fixed on the disciples, Jesus gives three universal concepts that are to govern the way in which we live together as His people. Judgement, Fruit-bearing and Authority. Jesus presents these three things as inescapable truths to which the disciples must give full attention.
In the world that God made, judgement is inescapable. You cannot ‘not’ judge. To say that judging others is wrong is in fact itself, a judgement. The question for the disciples is what you judge and how you judge.
What Jesus is asking for is consistency. In effect He is saying, don’t have a double standard. If your going to assist your brother with his specks, be sure to apply the same diligence to your planks.
Further, Jesus states what it is we are to judge. Fruit. A man cannot not bear fruit. It’s inescapable. The question for the disciples is, “Can you tell the difference between good fruit and bad fruit?” Which leads to the final inescapable truth, the existence of authority.
We are going to judge fruit, but by what standard? Is Jesus our Lord or isn’t He? If He is, then it is to His standards we must submit ourselves and all of our judgements.
Everyone will have a final authority to which they appeal. Will it be the solid rock of Jesus Christ or will our authority come from that which is shifting, rootless and insecure?
The gospel calls us to surrender our authority in favour of His. To make right judgements according to his word and to limit our judgement to the things we see and hear. We don’t judge motives, we don’t peer into places in the heart that only God can see. We judge fruit: word and deed. And we do it with a humble (knowing we have planks ourselves) and merciful (willing to help rather than hinder) eye.
Lessons for Little Saints…
Is it OK to judge others?
What are we to judge?
How do we do we do it?
Whose rules do we follow when working out what is right and wrong?