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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

Don't Follow Blindly


PRAYER: Holy Father, how I praise you for your Word and Knowledge. Lord, I admit I was blind without your teachings and confused by the worldly views. Holy Father, you bring clarity to the maze of madness and simplicity to my life. I praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who has laid a clear path for our lives. Amen.



The Blind Leading the Blind reveals Pieter Bruegel

The point of this this image is that we must be careful when choosing whom to follow lest we stumble into a pit alongside our blind guide. A corollary is that we have no business trying to guide others unless we ourselves can see clearly.

This is an important message in a day when so many self-appointed gurus vie for control of our spiritual affairs, our financial affairs, our medical affairs, our romantic affairs, our family affairs—the list goes on and on. Each guru claims special wisdom, but many are pursuing a hidden agenda—often a selfish agenda.

Some are financial or sexual predators. Others are idealistic but poorly informed. Many have made a shambles of their own lives but imagine that they can help others to make a success of theirs. Some are blind, but others see our vulnerabilities—see where they can take advantage. When choosing a guide—particularly a spiritual guide—it pays to be very, very careful.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (v. 40). There are parallels to this saying in Matthew 10:23-25 and John 15:20 where Jesus indicates that his disciples will be persecuted even as he is persecuted. There is another parallel in John 13:15-17, where Jesus follows the above saying with an emphasis on doing what he taught. He said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

While verse 39 indicates that the disciple must have clearer vision than the person he/she seeks to lead, verse 40 indicates that the disciple will never rise above the teacher (Jesus). At best, the disciple will be like the teacher. That is the goal toward which the disciple should strive—being “fully trained”—being like Jesus.

“Why do you see the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye” (vv. 41-42; see also Matthew 7:3-5). A bit of hyperbole (exaggeration for effect)! These verses grow naturally out of what Jesus said in verse 37 about not judging or condemning.

The problem with judging is that the person who sets him/herself up as a judge of another person’s imperfections is also imperfect. Like the blind leading the blind, the imperfect judging the imperfect leaves something to be desired.

Jesus, however, does not intend for us to go through life blindly accepting everything that we see or hear. He says, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20), indicating that there is such a thing as proper discernment.

We are surrounded by both good and bad and need to be able to discern which is which. Problems arise, however, when our discerning turns self-righteous—when we fail to acknowledge that we, too, are sinners.

The scribes and Pharisees personify that problem. They strive to keep the law and to insure that others do so as well. That is a noble undertaking, because the law is God’s law and God prizes faithfulness to the law. However, scrupulous observance becomes a problem when it leads to spiritual pride—when scrupulous observers assume that they are good and the rest of the world is bad. That is the case with the scribes and Pharisees, and Jesus warns us that we must be careful lest we be guilty of adopting this same kind of judgmental attitude—this same kind of spiritual pride.

The acronym, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?), comes to mind. Keeping that sort of question in the forefront of our minds can help us to become more and more like Jesus in our thoughts and actions.

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Bock, Darrell L., The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Luke, Vol, 3 (Downers Grove, Illinois, Intervarsity Press, 1994)

Craddock, Fred B., Interpretation: Luke (Louisville: John Knox Press,(1990)

Culpepper, R. Alan, The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IX. (Nashville: Abingdon , 1995)

Evans, Craig A., New International Biblical Commentary: Luke (Peabody, MA, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990)

Gilmour, S. MacLean & Bowie, Walter Russell, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 8. (Nashville: Abingdon , 1952)

Green, Joel B., The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997)

Stein, Robert H., The New American Commentary: Luke (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992)

Tannehill, Robert C., Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Luke (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996)


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