30 January 2021

Luke 6:39-49

I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. (v. 47)

Psalm 70


These verses conclude Jesus’s address to his disciples that we started reading  about on Thursday, beginning at Luke 6.20 ("Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.") Jesus uses straightforward and vivid imagery. He was an accessible and memorable teacher. His theme is this: "Discipleship is a transformational and developmental journey."  He requires our undivided attention, an attitude of humility and a commitment to doing what he asks.

From verses 39-40 we understand that disciples are required to be humble, to recognise their ignorance and confusion (blindness). It's a precondition for being able to learn from Jesus the teacher. Jesus can then enable a student to see and to know what he sees and knows, so that the disciple can share in the mind and character of God. No disciple can teach until they have been taught.

Verses 41-45 expound the radical change in the heart that discipleship entails There is a negative aspect. Disciples must recognise how little they know about themselves (in truth there is a 'log' in each disciple’s eye!). They must note how naively eager they are to judge others (who may have only a speck in their eye – that is, minor defects of character). Only Jesus the spiritual counsellor can dispel ignorance, arrogance and judgementalism (remove that log).  Only the pure in heart, those with a heart full of goodness, can speak and act in a godly way to others. But there is  a positive aspect: Jesus can mediate God’s grace to convert a disciple’s heart. 

Verses 46-49 reveal the outcome that is possible for a committed, humble and obedient disciple. He or she will become like a house built on a foundation of rock – a stable, strong, resilient character, who knows Jesus and the God of Jesus; who has been cleansed inwardly to become a holy person, and can be trusted to represent Jesus in dealing with other people. They must sustain their Jesus-like character even in the most trying of circumstances (when "the river bursts its bank").

To Ponder:

  • Discipleship is a lifetime’s journey into the inexhaustible riches and depth of love in the heart of Jesus. Who or what, in your experience, is a good guide for you on this journey? Who or what refreshes you on the journey, challenges you, or makes you more self-aware? Have you recently expressed your gratitude for that? 
  • Public witness as a Christian is a hazardous business. We quickly become aware of how inadequate we are as representatives of Jesus. Who or what has affirmed you, and encouraged you to persist, even when you have made a mistake or acted unworthily? Have you a good memory, thanks to God, of being able calmly to speak of God’s faithful love and mercy when the world seemed to be collapsing around you? Have you shared such an experience with others in your congregation?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Deeks

The Revd David Deeks is a retired Methodist minister. He has always focused on theology and spirituality as practical themes.

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