2010-01-31 (am) Luke 6:37-42 20/20 Vision
Cadets, I would like you to close your eyes and picture a different Cadet leader, not one of yours, in your mind. Imagine that this counsellor is going to teach you how to build a fire.
So, this is what he might say: Okay boys, gather ‘round. I’m going to show you the best way to make a fire. What you do is just dump all your wood on the ground. Big, pieces, small pieces, doesn’t matter. Actually, you want to completely cover the small pieces with the big pieces, making sure there are no gaps in the wood. Then you take this here newspaper, crumple it up as tightly as you can, then scatter it on top of the wood. Then you strike a match and just drop it near the wood and the paper: fire is dangerous; you don’t want to get too close!
Now open your eyes. Do you think that counsellor is a very good fire building teacher? No?
Okay, close your eyes again. Now suppose a Cadet from that leader’s club came over to your group. Imagine that when you guys started to make a fire, he stepped up and said, “My counsellor is the greatest counsellor in the world! He is an expert fire maker. I’ll show you how to make a fire! And so, he does exactly what the counsellor did.
Okay, you can open your eyes. What do you think?
A person who knows how to do something is able to teach others how to do it. But if they don’t know how to do something, even if they are the most phenomenally engaging teacher, the students won’t learn what they need to know.
In Jesus’ day, there were teachers who were just like that imaginary Cadet Leader, only they were really real. They thought they knew everything. They thought they really knew God. They thought they really knew how to live to please God. They had it all figured out. In order to go to heaven, you had to do this, and this and this. You had to wash your hands. You had to wash the outside of your hot chocolate mugs, you had to give a portion of everything you had, 10% was the going rate, but if you were really pious, you’d give even more!
So these guys went through their homes, and took out ten percent of everything and gave it to the church—in those days the church was called a synagogue, and the denominational building was called the temple. They even gave 10% of their spices! Seriously, they went home and measured out 10% of their salt, 10% of their pepper, their cumin, etc.
So, if you were like one of these guys, or if one of these guys were your teacher today, he would tell you to give 10% of your new Lego toy to the church. Let’s say you had a Lego truck that had 10 wheels. You’d have to give one of the wheels to the church. You’d have to give 10% of the Lego toy to the church. Do you think you’d be able to make a very good truck with 10% missing?
What do you think Jesus thought of these guys? He was upset at them, right? Their hearts were in the right place, their desires were good, their intentions were noble, but their understanding was dead wrong!
They believed they were close to God. They believed they knew the truth of God better than anyone else did. They studied the Bible better than anyone. But you know what? They were blind. Jesus said so. He called them blind guides.
Do you think a blind person would make a very good guide? Don’t misunderstand, blind people are very capable, they are very good at getting around. Many blind people use dogs to guide them; they’re called Seeing Eye dogs. But because they can’t see, they would not be very good guides, would they?
A blind person would have a hard time describing the colour of or pews. A blind person would not be able to tell what colour my hair is. A blind person wouldn’t be reliable to give directions if you were driving a car. A blind guide would be just as easily led astray as a blind follower would. Jesus says that a blind guide is useless for avoiding danger. A blind guide would just as easily lead someone into a pit, for they wouldn’t know any better if it was there!
It is even worse because these blind guides were religious leaders. They were supposed to lead people to God. But in calling them blind, Jesus was saying that they had no clue who God is or how to find him.
But these religious leaders had no idea they were blind! Like the over confident counsellor, they were the worst kind of guides ever! They were leading the people into a pit all right, the pit of hell. Because they were not teaching the truth about God, his love, his grace, his mercy, his true judgement.
Now, we might look at this and say, “Jesus is being pretty harsh, calling these good intentioned people blind guides.” Jesus says in one breath, do not judge, and in the next breath he is judging! What’s going on?
Once again, let’s look at the Cadet counsellor. Clearly, he didn’t know how to make a fire, did he? So, we could say he’s not a good fire builder. That doesn’t mean he isn’t good at other things. We can’t even say he’s a bad teacher. He might be a good teacher if he had the right knowledge and information.
Jesus was doing the right thing. He was judging the Pharisees’ lack of knowledge. Now, can anyone tell me how Jesus knew these guys were blind guides. How did Jesus know they weren’t teaching them the truth? How did Jesus know they weren’t leading them to God?
Well, who is Jesus? Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. Jesus is God, God the Son! The Pharisees didn’t accept Jesus. They didn’t believe Jesus was God’s Son! They thought they knew God! They thought they were leading people to God, but when God himself appeared right before them, they were completely blind! They couldn’t see God!
If they couldn’t see him, then they certainly couldn’t lead others to him.
Do you think it was right for Jesus to call these men blind guides?
Yes, it was right! Unless we show people the truth, they’ll remain convinced that their wrong point of view is true.
Only if one of our very capable Cadet Counsellors was able to teach this imaginary Cadet Counsellor the correct way to make a fire, could he really learn how to make a good fire. But if they said to him, “Hey, man, good effort, good try, keep up the good work.” They’d be doing an injustice. They wouldn’t help him, and he wouldn’t be able to help others.
What they’d have to do is say to him, “Actually, respectfully, that’s not the way to make a fire. Please can I show you the proper way to make a fire?”
And if our counsellor is truly interested in the truth, he would let them teach him the proper way to make a fire.
And that’s what Jesus calls us to do with the truth about him. We need to tell people that Jesus is God’s Son. We need to tell them that he is God. We need to lead them away from the pit of hell and bring them to Jesus. God is just. He will punish sin. But God is also amazingly wonderfully merciful and gracious.
He placed all his judgement and punishment for sin on his Son, Jesus. Jesus willingly took it upon himself on the cross. All a person has to do is put their trust in Jesus. All you have to do is confess with your mouth that Jesus is God’s Son, that he is your saviour and Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved.
All you have to do is believe that Jesus is not a blind guide, but rather that he is the way, the truth and the life.
And once you believe that, you have to keep believing it. You have to continue to learn more and more about Jesus. Just as a good fire builder, one who knows how to build fires well will continue to learn how to become an even better fire builder, you have to continue to learn how to become a better and better Christian.
This means you study God’s word. This book, the Bible tells you everything you need to know about God. It will help keep you on the right path, it will light up your path, it will show you the way and it will show you Jesus.
Jesus will never fail you. He has 20/20 vision. He sees the way, even when we cannot. He overcomes our blindness. After all, he healed a man who was born blind. He gave sight to Saul, a Pharisee, one of these blind guides. After meeting Jesus, after Jesus healed him of his blindness, Saul became Paul--the greatest missionary the church has ever seen, because Jesus blessed him with 20/20 vision!
This means that we don’t lean on our own strength, but rather remember that our holiness, our righteousness, our truth is a gift given to us by God. This means we don’t become like those blind guides. We don’t follow those blind guides. We don’t put our trust in the stuff we do—how well we behave, the stuff we give, we don’t depend on those things to make us right with God. We depend on Christ, Christ alone.
All kinds of blind guides will come along and try to lead us astray. But just as we have Cadet counsellors who teach us how to do important things like how to build fires and how to learn from God’s Word, we have parents and friends and pastors to teach us how to know Jesus.
Has Jesus given you 20/20 vision, that is perfect vision yet? Has he opened your eyes to see him? Do you know him? Have you put your trust, your confidence in him? If not, then I encourage you to do so today, right now.
If you know who Jesus is, he has already given you 20/20 vision. So, because you are no longer blind, be a good guide for others! Lead them to Jesus. Tell them what he has done for you! Tell them the truth! Ask Jesus to open their eyes to see him. Ask him use you to guide them to eternal life. Amen.