“When our Lord said, ‘One of you will betray Me,’ thank God those disciples had enough spirituality that nobody said, ‘Lord, is it he?’ Every one of those disciples said, ‘Lord, is it I?’ …
“Self-righteousness is terrible among God’s people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc in the local assembly.” – A. W. Tozer
In Matthew 26, each of the disciples humbly asked the Lord if they were the one who would betray Him, but Luke 22 shows how the subject of discussion swiftly turned; the disciples started arguing amongst themselves about which one of them would be accounted the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
It would be easy to sit here and judge the disciples for their lack of focus and lack of eternal perspective. After all, they had Jesus with them! They were doing so well until each of them had to put their dirty feet in their mouths. There was no excuse for such blatantly proud behavior… But if they had no excuse, then we have even less of an excuse. In our hands, we hold the canvas of God’s truth; we can see both in front and behind the masterpiece. The disciples heard Jesus’ teaching on countless occasions, but they never had the chance to study His Word in its entirety, or to learn from the mistakes of those gone before them; they were the first to follow; they were newborn babies who had to grow up fast, and many of their growing pains were recorded for millions to read.
If you or I had lived in Jesus’ time, and walked and talked with Him, we cannot say we would have acted any better than the disciples had. Today, we have the Holy Bible in hand, and the 20/20 vision that comes from hindsight, but in the days of Jesus, our best eyesight would not have been hindsight, but looking at everyone and everything through the eyes of grace.
When you read the Bible often, go to church, attend Bible studies, memorize and teach Scripture, and do every other “Christiany” thing, it becomes too easy to put yourself on a pedestal. However, the whole reason that we strive, the reason why we pray, read, worship, sing, teach, and have fellowship, is not to proclaim our worth, but to show forth our worthlessness and the eternal and priceless worth of our Savior. There is no place, in Heaven or on earth, where we can be above Jesus Christ. Moreover, Jesus taught that, to be above anyone in this life, you must first become a servant of all. He exemplified that when He chose to humble Himself, washing the disciple’s feet, and then washing every human being’s dirty and sinful flesh. He was fully aware of our unworthiness, yet He chose to look at us through eyes of grace and love; placing His worth on us.
The next time you think of accusing another, whether in your private thoughts or aloud, remember what you have read today. It is by God’s grace you are saved; no good works could add to that salvation and no bad works could take it away. If the world knew you as well as God knows you, it would want nothing to do with you. Nevertheless, grace covers a multitude of sins; grace that is shown through pure, unselfish, and sacrificial love. Jesus is our greatest example of such grace and love, and His disciples were only a few examples of how great is His love and grace toward the unworthy, yet humble, heart.
Instead of condemning a brother or unbeliever, extend to them the same grace that has been extended to you. Do not fear to be firm in telling the truth of where sin will lead, but do not neglect to teach the eternal value of humility, brokenness, and repentance before the Creator of the earth; teach by example. Speaking condemnation without speaking the hope of Jesus is simply spewing death; godliness without power.
We are all works in progress, and there is no shame in that when Yahweh is our Potter. Therefore, may we kneel before we stand, may we serve before we lead, and may we teach the truth of sin and extend grace in equal measure.
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