Luke 6:39-49 ESV
Hear and Do
Who as a child ever questioned the authority of their parents? It’s not like we thought they weren’t our parents, but maybe we wanted to see the extent of their authority. These types of situations usually occurred when we were being forced to lay aside our own will and way and submit to our parent’s authority. Submission and obedience are some of the hardest lessons to learn as a child, and I do not think they get any easier as an adult. In fact, I would say that if they are not learned as a child, then they are harder to learn as an adult. Imagine Jesus, knowing the Father’s will and being subjected to the disobedience from those that God has restored throughout history, interacting with the religious elite of Israel. In Matthew 21, the chief priests and elders of the synagogue challenge Jesus’ authority and He says this in verses 28- 31a ““What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.””- I will save the last part of verse 31 for bit later.
Each family has its own nuance, but as children we are supposed to obey our own parents. However, have you noticed that children are often better behaved for others than they are their own parents? I’ve heard multiple reasons for this, like how children are more comfortable with their parents, or they feel safer and better able to express themselves. But as we read the passage this morning, let’s not take the Father’s love for granted. Something very special has been accomplished for all those who are in Christ. If you have not taken the step of submitting to Jesus as Lord and Savior, I pray that Jesus’ words will impact your heart and soul deeply, to the point of reconciliation with God.
Luke 6:39-49 ESV – Stand as we read God’s Word
“39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For 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. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”” – you may be seated
Chronology & Parallel Passages:
The passage this week is the final part of Jesus’ sermon on the plain. As we have noticed, there are many similarities and cross references to the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7. In fact, the conclusion of both sermons end with the parable of the two builders. Teaching in parables is a hallmark of Jesus teaching. In Matthew 13, Jesus’ disciples asked Him why He taught in parables. In verse 11, “And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
This may sound harsh, but Jesus words are encrypted and the only way to know Jesus and His words are through the Holy Spirit. The working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Jesus’ disciples is the mystery that was hidden from the eyes of the religious elite- the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not just of Israel but of all humankind. For those in Israel at that time, the Messiah was seen as their savior, not a savior to the nations as well. Jesus came to break down the perceived barrier of nationality and cultural location that defined entrance into the kingdom of heaven and that granted one salvation.
In Luke 4, Jesus inaugurated His earthly ministry in His hometown of Nazareth. After reading from the scroll in the synagogue, many spoke well of Him. Then we read in Luke 4: 23-28 “And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.”
What changed? Why did they go from speaking well of Him to being filled with wrath? This is central to Jesus’ teaching in the passage we are reading this morning in Luke 6 as well. Jesus said that even though there were widows and lepers in Israel, Elisha and Elijah brought healing and cleansing to those outside Israel, the gentiles. In the last part of Matthew 21:31 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.”
Let’s examine the passage this morning in greater detail, first by viewing it in terms of Jesus’ original audience and then by applying it to our current times.
Luke 6:39-42, “39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
- An interesting exchange occurred in Matthew 15 between Jesus and His disciples and the Pharisees and their scribes. They questioned Jesus about why His disciples did not follow the traditions of the elders- namely to eat without washing their hands. To them it was a matter of ritual uncleanness. In response, Jesus questioned their intentions about honoring God the Father with traditions rather than a heart of worship. Jesus called them hypocrites and quoted Isaiah 29 in verses 8-9 saying:
- “‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matt 15:8-9
- “‘This people honors me with their lips,
- As the leaders of Israel, the Pharisees were the ones who were supposed to be following the Word of God, and in doing so, would have recognized Jesus as the Word made flesh. The Pharisees saw themselves as God’s chosen people, but in their hearts, they harbored intense prejudice. They despised those outside Israel and those inside Israel that did not follow the rules they put in place. They were blind to the true heart of God and were indeed blind guides.
- In Luke 4 Jesus says that He was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and to recover the sight of the blind. So, based on the passage, how is one supposed to remove the log from their own eye? Or how does one recover their sight? Speaking as though through an interpreter, Jesus is not referring specifically to their physical condition, but to their spiritual condition. Their hearts were far from God and there is only one cure for this broken relationship. Reconciliation with God is found in no one else but Jesus Christ!
- On the road to Damascus in Acts 9, Paul experienced in physical form what he could not in his spirit- blindness. This occurred through a revelation of Jesus at a time when no one would consider Saul of Tarsus a friend to Christians. But he was changed by the power of God though Jesus Christ and the working the Holy Spirit.
- Paul had no idea that his relationship with God was broken, blindness does that. There may be some here that are blind to the broken relationship they have with God the Father. It’s not too late for you. Trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead for forgiveness of sins. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes. There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ! This is the mystery that eluded the religious elite in Israel.
Luke 6:43-45 “For 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. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
- In the previous encounter from Matthew 15, Jesus says this, starting in verse 11, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. 12Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
- The tree that bears good fruit is the one that is planted by the Father, that person is rooted in Christ. The bad fruit comes from the father of lies. It really depends upon who you are obeying. What or who are you living for? What desires motivate your thoughts, actions, and words? Does your life portray love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control or does it portray murder, adultery, hatred, jealousy, theft, slander, and lies?
- The traditions of the Pharisees became to them a way to earn God’s favor.
- In the early church, some made the claim that to be a Christian, one had to first follow the rules and regulations of Judaism. There are some today that would make similar arguments regarding ritual cleanness or purity making righteousness something that can be attained through a work of man.
- The Apostle Paul says this to the believers in Colossae: “16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” Colossians 2:16-19
- Is Christ enough? Are you nourished and knit together with the Body of Christ? What are your priorities? Let us never stop giving thanks for this new life in Christ, upon whom the entire Church is built.
Luke 6:46-49 ““Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.””
- As I mentioned earlier, this parable closes both the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon the Plain. It holds this place because it aptly brings Jesus’ teachings into proper perspective. The words spoken are not new but are brought into the light of Jesus, as the expected Messiah.
- The opening line, verse 46, harks back to the words of the prophet Ezekiel while Israel was in exile. We can start in Ezekiel 33:23-24 “The word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.’” This reveals their heart. Then in Ezekiel 33:29-33 “Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed.
30 “As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. 32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. 33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.””.
- It is in this context that the parable of the two builders can be understood.
- The first to speak a parable involving two shelters, a coming storm, and a foundation is Isaiah. He spoke these words to Israel, who made an alliance with Egypt, around 700BC in light of the coming of the Assyrian army. Isaiah 28:14-18 “Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.”
- There are so many parallels. But after considering all that Jesus had taught in the sermon, the focus is on hearing and doing His words. As the Israelites were putting their faith in Egypt instead of God, the leaders in Jerusalem were putting their faith in their man-made traditions rather than God. They had a stone that was in the center of the temple, that they called the cornerstone. This was a central aspect of their sacrificial system. However, as Isaiah spoke of a future foundation laid by God, a cornerstone, Jesus also speaks about a house that is built upon the Rock. The Rock, the cornerstone of our faith, is Jesus.
- The man who hears and does the words of Jesus, who builds his house on the Rock, must dig deep. And just like the soil in Jerusalem is like bronze in the summer, when foundations are laid, this will not be easy. In Luke 9:23-24 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” There is a cost to obeying to Jesus’ words, laying down one’s life on the altar of love, but the reward is great in heaven.
- Unfortunately, there were, and still are, some who were blind to the impending storm and after hearing Jesus’ words chose not to do them. I pray that is not you this morning.
- Open Your Eyes
- The mystery of ages was being revealed right before the eyes of the religious elite in Jerusalem. That the Messiah, Jesus, was making salvation available to all who would believe in Him, even the Gentiles, was not what they wanted to hear. We are rich to have this mystery opened to us today. Colossians 1:27-28 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
- Don’t take for granted the great love that was shown to us through the life of Jesus Christ revealed by the saints as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Let us not be like the religious elite who think we are chosen because of something that we do. It is Christ in us! Remove all prejudice, hatred, jealousy, and the like from your lives. God is faithful and just to bring into light the sin in your life and through confession and repentance, submit to Him. He is has forgiven you by blood of Christ shed on the cross.
- Removing the impurities requires an exchange. Denying oneself must be accompanied by carrying your cross. Examine your hearts this morning as we begin to reflect on this occasion where we get to share in the Lord’s supper.
- Abundance of the Heart
- Jesus made it clear that one’s physical life was a reflection of their spiritual life. Not that bad things happen to bad people- that is called Karma and has no place in Christianity. It has to do with how you handle each moment of this life given by God. The attitude or abundance of our hearts produces thoughts, actions, and words. What fruit are our lives producing?
- Are we aware of what we speak, what we think, and what we do? We all have blind spots. But, if you are willing, ask the Lord to reveal any areas where you are not bearing good fruit and then seek that place in your heart that needs to be healed. Seek the Lord and let Him be your refuge.
- Take every thought captive to obey Christ. The Apostle Paul says this in Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Let this appeal ring true in your hearts and minds this morning.
- When the Storm Comes
- It’s important to note that the storm came upon both houses. There is no escaping the storms in this life and each storm is a test. When faced with challenges and difficulty in this life, pray, how are you testing me in this moment Lord?
- Isaiah was not just prophesying about the impending destruction from the Assyrians but was also pointing to a greater future destruction. Jesus was not just prophesying about the impending destruction of the temple at the hands of the Romans in 70AD but was also referring to a greater future destruction.
- What then is this future storm that is coming upon all? At the beginning of Isaiah 28 we get an idea of this in verse 2 “Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters,
he casts down to the earth with his hand.”
- To those who hear and obey, by the power of the Holy Spirit, entrance to our future home in heaven is granted. But to those who hear and do not obey, the entrance will be shut and great will be their destruction. As Isaiah said, “when this comes- and come it will!” Jesus will return and God’s judgement will happen! This should motivate us to share God’s love to any and all who would listen.
- Let us reflect during the worship set. If you have a relationship with Christ, examine your hearts and ask the Lord to reveal any area where you are spiritually blind to your sin. If you do not have a relationship with Christ, consider the reality of Jesus’ return.
Prayer: That each one here today will go into your mission field this week and labor for the glory of God the Father with a pure heart and right attitude. Live blessed!
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”