Theme: In a complex world, many become confused in trying to cope with the diversity in beliefs and lifestyles. How can one maintain a sense of stability given such complexity? Jesus taught His disciples the spiritual disciples of resisting the use of judgment and using discernment.
The interpretation of the verses is in bold print which follows the original verse in regular print.
Matthew 7:1 and 2, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Do not be judgmental of others, for once you do that you now put yourself in the ring to be judged by God using the identical yardstick (measures) on you that you used to judge others.
* v.3,4,5, and 6, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy bother’s eye. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, but they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
The Scripture in verse 3 illustrates that we all have faults to one degree or another. It says that we should not criticize the “mote” (i.e. saw dust or grain of sand) in someone else’s eye when we have a “beam” (i.e. log or 2 x 4) in our own eye. The point that Jesus is making metaphorically is if you have something so large as a log in your eye, then how could you see a grain of sand in someone else’s eye. For surely the log would block your vision to see a grain in someone else’s eye. That person would be a hypocrite. In other words, the one with a log in his eye should concentrate more on how to remove the log from his eye than worrying about a grain of sand in his friend’s eye. In short, we should examine ourselves first, and deal with our faults first before we give advice to others. “Give not which is holy unto dogs” Dogs here refers to those who would ignore Christ’s teachings or try and prevent others from hearing them. “Holy” refers to the teachings for Christ, and the dogs would treat it as meat and devour it, because it is of little value to them. Jesus says don’t give away that which is holy to anyone but be selective to those who would appreciate its value and use it. Pearls were considered insightful teachings given to the disciples by Jesus. Swine was another name for pigs, who would eat or devour just about anything without recognizing the value of what they had devoured. Jesus cautions us to not give anything of value away to anyone who cannot value and appreciate it. Jesus’ most precious gift was the “Kingdom of God.” It will only be given to those who will value it and appreciate it.
* v.15 and 16, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
Here Jesus warns of false prophets, even the O.T. mentions then in Deut. 13:1-5. Metaphorically wolves appear in sheep’s clothing. They initially say the right things, but later their actions foretell a sinister motive. Jesus liken them to fruit from a tree. A good tree gives good fruit and a bad tree likewise. Thistles are prickly wild plants that harm other plants. They produce beautiful flowers, with possible poisonous and deadly fruit. Jesus contrasts the dangerous thistles with the even more dangerous false prophets, who may present themselves as dapper and eloquent, but are deceitful below the surface and contrary to the Word of God. Bad trees give bad fruit, and false prophets give false testimony that can ruin one’s life, that keeps one separated from God.
* v. 17,18,19,20, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Again, Jesus uses the metaphor of trees for people, and fruits for the character that people display. He continues that good trees produce good fruit; and evil trees produce bad fruit. Thus, bad trees are good for nothing, and should be cut down and burned. The same analogy is made for false prophets. It should be noted that trees take time to grow, and thus the fruit that they will bear is not readily apparent. The fruits that a false prophet will bear may take time for his character to be ascertained, but it will come in time. (The big question is now that you know it, what are you going to do about it?)
* v. 21, 22, and 23, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in my name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will i profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
True disciples affirm Jesus’ lordship, submit to His authority, obey His commands and lead a transformed life made possible by God. Those who profess a resume’ of praying out loud and shout Lord, Lord in front of people, proclaim the gift of prophesy and miracles. Jesus says that those who call him Lord and present themselves before Him while not doing His will, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When they remind Jesus of who they are and what they did, He will say, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”