When we read Luke 6.39-42, there appears to be just a random jumbling of teachings from the Master which are just loosely related to each other. However, I submit that there is far more continuity to this teaching that what is there at first glance. These teachings have a specific context to them, namely love for your enemy and judging others. The parables Jesus teaches with here have to do with these very things. But how are they related?
It would appear that the statements made in Luke 6.39-42 have to with leadership, especially leading others toward Christ. However, if you are a blind guide, you do yourself no good as well those you are leading who themselves are blind. Hence, those who looked to the Pharisees as guides were in serious trouble, especially when you consider Jesus’ assessment of them (see Matt 23.16, 19, 24, 26). They were blind guides. Why? Because they did not exhibit kingdom qualities, namely (as is in this context) showing love to their enemies and also they were guilty of the critical attitude Jesus just denounced. They were blinded by their hatred for others and their judgmental attitude that lead them to their hatred and even condemnation of their enemies.
So Jesus evalutes the situation and says have love for your enemies and leave the judging to God, lest you become a blind guide like the Pharisees. Leon Morris writes: “The Christian cannot hope to act as guide to others unless he himself sees clearly where he is going. Lacking love, he does not.”
Following this Jesus adds that a disciple is to know his place before the Master. “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” This is a clear reminder to never supercede the authority of the Master. For to view oneself as greater than the Master is to put oneself above divinity, a position we could never take. Hence, let God be God and retain your position as a disciple. Show love to your enemies and leave the judging to God. Be a disciple and make disciples who will also be the kind of disciple you are.
Jesus no launches into a breif discourse about the correction of brothers. We are not allowed to judge our brothers in the sense that we write them off as inferior. They are our brother. We do have divine command to correct our brothers when they fall into error (Matt 5.23-24; 18.15-18; 2 Timothy 4.2). However, correction of our brothers always begin with rigid self-examination. We test ourselves to see if we are of the faith before we approach our brother. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. Get rid of your plank, your sin, your error, before you go fault-finding in your brother. Again, make sure you yourself are not a blind guide, but instead you can see clearly.
We must always keep in mind the audience Jesus is talking to: his disciples (v.20). His words are ever clear today to us, his disciples. Are we truly being the kind of disciples he desires? Or have we allowed a plank to become lodged in our eye? Worse yet, have we gone around being “speck inspectors” all the while allowing our own plank to show before men? Let us be all the more diligent to keep the planks of life out of our sight so that we can be the guides to those who are blinded by the devil (2 Cor 4.4) and lead them to spiritual freedom in Christ.