Dear Student of the Word,
It's been a few weeks since the last installment from our Luke devotional study. In this tenth study, we look at Jesus' teaching that contains His Beatitudes, which are also found in Matthew 6. It is interesting to see the slight differences in the two chapters, perhaps explained by the fact that Jesus traveled in ministry, thus preaching the same message with slight variations. To give you a sample of this seven-part study, here is what I wrote in part seven:
Study Ten, Part Seven
39 He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
6:39&40 – It appears that Jesus was addressing the leaders of Israel, pointing out that their hardness toward others was being reproduced as they discipled others. A teacher cannot lead someone where they have not gone themselves. At the same time, Jesus was indicating that He was qualified to teach about mercy and grace because He was a source of mercy and grace. The Lord has never permitted me to teach theory, but only what He was working into my life. While not perfect, I attempt to teach reality and not what I have heard from someone else.
If you want to teach others God’s ways, then you must be ready for God to lead you into what He wants you to teach. You must be willing to allow God to do a work in you so that you will have firsthand stories and examples to share with others. If you are teaching others, do you have fresh material based on your own experience, or are you dishing out someone else’s leftovers?
6:41 – Jesus did not say not to address the speck that is in your brother’s eye. A teacher or leader must first address the much bigger issues (the plank) in his or her own life. I must be willing to deal with my own problems before I am qualified to help others address theirs. This is the price of leadership.
6:42 – The word hypocrite is derived from the Greek word hypocritos and refers to the masks that Greek actors wore on stage that represented happiness, sadness, anger and the like. In this context, hypocrites would wear a mask to pretend that they are something they are not. If I confront your anger yet I have a bad temper, I am a hypocrite. Someone once said that God won’t change you into the person you are already pretending to be. Are you qualified to help others spiritually? One of the qualifiers is to confront the sins (planks) in your own life. When you do, you will automatically be gentler and more empathetic as you help others. Paul wrote:
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load (Galatians 6:1-5).
Are you ready to restore your brother? You can get ready by having a handle on your own spiritual needs and problems.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled What Would Jesus Ask You Today? Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.
LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST: I am speaking at the last Duquesne University Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, May 12 from 7:30 to 10:00 AM. My topic is Unlocking the Power of Your Creative Edge: Staying Inspired!. You can find more information or register at the University website.
PURPOSE SEMINAR: I am hosting my next free purpose seminar on Saturday, May 16 from noon to 4:30 PM on the North Side at Allegheny Center Alliance Church. You do need to register even though it's free, so please email me to let me know you are coming.
#STANKOISMS: My latest book, #stankoisms: Wisdom for the Twitter Age is now available in paper or ebook format.
ANOTHER BOOK: I released another book this past week for which I served as the editor as well as being a contributing author. Leadership Essentials is now available in Kindle or paper format.
YOUR PURPOSEQUEST TV: I have four television shows posted online. Each one features someone's purpose story. You can watch them on my Vimeo channel. I also have all my radio shows archived on my website for your listening enjoyment. That show is entitled "Wake Up to Purpose."