- What Jesus does not say in this famous statement is that we should unreservedly accept sin, error or immoral behavior. We are to show love to all people, no matter what sin they are struggling with, but we are not to accept, approve or bless sin.
- If someone confesses to a crime and is convicted in court, he is sentenced to an appropriate penalty. That’s how it works in the kingdom of the world, but that’s not how it works in the kingdom of God. If someone has wronged me and asks for forgiveness, I will forgive without imposing a penalty or requiring due penance.
- Jesus wants us to forgive without judging because God is that way with us. What if on the day of judgment God forgives us for our sins but still gives us the punishment for our sins?
- When Jesus in John 8:1-11 meets a woman caught in adultery, he says: “let him who is without sin cast the first stone at her”. The penalty for adultery under the Mosaic Law was death (Leviticus 20:10), but when none of her accusers casts a stone, Jesus says, “Woman, where are they? Has no one judged you?” She replied, “No, Lord, no one.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I judge you. Go, and sin no more!”
- The woman had committed a sin and the penalty of the Law was death. Jesus is clear that he does not accept sin itself when he says “sin no more!” but forgives her without condemning her to the appropriate punishment.
- It’s easier to have a judgmental attitude towards others than towards yourself. But anyone who has ever been convicted by the Holy Spirit of his own sin will hate the sin but love the sinner.
- The one who has had his own sin forgiven will also want to lead others to the forgiveness of sins, not through coercion or condemnation, but through love, mercy and care.
- Just as we should not judge others because we probably don’t want to be judged ourselves, we should give generously because we want to be given generously.
- When we give of our money, our time, our ears, etc., God will give back. Generous giving is one of the few things that God actually invites us to test him in (Mal 3:10).
- Instead of putting ourselves first and constantly thinking about how we can enrich ourselves or afford this or that, Jesus wants us to think about others and how we can generously help our fellow human beings in the best possible way.
- But one should be careful not to give in order to receive, because then one is not really giving, but trying to buy a blessing.
- The Pharisees were very convinced in their belief in God and studied God’s Word very zealously, yet Jesus accuses the Pharisees of being blind leaders (Matthew 15:14) because they did not see Jesus in Scripture.
- So it is possible to have a tremendous knowledge of God’s Word and be zealous for God’s Word, and yet be blind to what God’s Word is all about: the love of God.
- He who constantly sees fault in others, but never in himself, is a blind leader. He who constantly judges others, without thinking that one day he himself will be judged by the same measure, is a blind leader.
- Jesus here gives a great responsibility to each one who follows a leader. One should never follow anyone anyway, but always pay attention to the leader’s relationship with God and his Word, and also consider that in the end one has only Jesus as one’s supreme leader.
- A disciple is something more than just a student, because a disciple should not only learn from his teacher, but also try to imitate his teacher. Thus, a disciple can become like his master, but never more than his master, because it is not possible to become more than like anyone.
- Man was originally created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27), something we still are (Jas 3:9), but which has been more or less destroyed and deformed by sin. When God came to earth and became like us (Jn 1:14), the goal was that we should become like him, by being “formed in the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29) and eventually, “when we see him as he is”, “become like him” (1 Jn 3:2). So in this process of discipleship, also known as the “sanctification process,” we are slowly but surely restored to what we were once created to be; the image of God.
- A disciple of Jesus should thus read the Bible about Jesus and try to imitate him by doing what he did and living the way he lived.
- This statement is a typical hyperbole, i.e. “an exaggerated simile intended to create an unexpected reaction in the audience”. Hyperboles were common in Jesus’ time and were very useful when Jesus wanted to shock the audience in order to create a reflection. A hyperbole is not meant to be interpreted literally.
- One of the most classic and clear hyperboles is: “I tell you: Anyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye tempts you to sin, pluck it out and cast it away! It is better for you that one of your limbs be lost than that your whole body be cast into Gehenna.” (Matthew 5:28-29)
- Even if it is possible to get a splinter in the eye, it is probably not possible to get a beam in the eye. Jesus uses this exaggeration to humorously first shock the audience and then explain an important point.
- If you imagine a man with a beam in his eye carefully trying to pick out a small splinter in his brother’s eye, you realise quite quickly that perhaps he should take care of his own problems first, partly to save himself, but also because it is impossible for him to pick out a small splinter when he can’t see properly because of the beam.
- But not only is it impossible to pick out the splinter with a beam in your own eye, it’s obvious to everyone around you that you have bigger problems than the person you’re trying to help. Often we don’t see our own sins when we’re too busy looking for fault in others. We get a blind spot that makes us not see our own situation.
- The point Jesus is making is that we should not be so quick to point out the sins of others when we ourselves are full of sin. It’s not wrong to try to help other people who are struggling with their sin, but we shouldn’t constantly point out people’s “little sins” when we ourselves are struggling with big sins. Then we should first deal with our own sin before we are ready to help others.
- A good example of this is David’s reaction when the prophet Nathan tells about a man who stole and killed another man’s lamb. David believes that the man should be sentenced to death as punishment for his sin, but does not see that he himself is even more sinful because he has done exactly the same thing when he murdered a man and took his wife (2 Sam 12).