“Someone who is blind cannot lead another who is blind, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while you yourself don’t see the beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Jesus here is making the point that your attitude and approach to living a righteous life will eventually become so obvious and out there that it will be as if someone who is blind is trying to lead another who is blind. What would have been unmistakeable to observe (the blind leading the blind) for the disciples is being used to make the point that how you live your life, righteously or not, will be just as obvious to others. How are they to live then?
Jesus goes on to say that you will become, essentially, like those that you emulate (v.40). For the disciples in the immediacy, they had the profound privilege to live with, travel with, and minister with the Lord Himself. For you and for me, we’re still emulating Jesus, we’re just not eating breakfast with Him too.
The disciples are encouraged to take care of their own attitude and approach to living a righteous life before pointing out where others could do better (v.42). As the disciples, so for us. We can’t be telling others about the minutest areas of their lives where they need to do better whilst running around with glaringly obvious (the blind leading the blind) patterns of sin in our lives. This kind of attitude and practice brings strong words from Jesus: You hypocrite! This kind of verbal beat-down was often reserved for the hypocritical religious leaders of the day who would consistently tell others where they needed to do better, whilst not doing so well themselves (Matthew 23.23, for example).
What do we do with this then? We should use it as an attitude-check.
Let’s check if we are more concerned with the sins of others than our own.
Let’s check if we are more concerned with following others than we are with following the Lord.
Today then, let’s all take an honest look at ourselves and any areas of our lives where there are patterns of sin. See them, confess them, repent of them, and be thankful that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1.9).