What does Luke 6:40 mean?Jesus has told His followers that even if someone persecutes them for following Him, they should not be quick to judge and condemn. To do so is to invite God's judgment and condemnation. Instead, they should freely forgive their abusers and God will forgive them, maintaining their close relationship with Him (Luke 6:37–38). That doesn't mean Jesus' followers are never to declare that another's actions are sinful. It means all judgment must be tempered with mercy and wisdom. Here, He continues the progression His followers must take before they can effectively judge the sins of another and lead them into obedience to God.
First, we must examine ourselves, with intense scrutiny. If we have no discernment, we have no right judging another's actions. If we hate and curse our enemies, refuse to help them or forgive them, and quickly judge and condemn them, we prove we do not understand Jesus' way (Luke 6:27–36); we are blind. Being blind, we have no authority to judge (Luke 6:39).
To truly see, we must be true disciples of Christ. Such a label comes with a warning. Jesus teaches that His followers will be flogged in the synagogues, tried before governors and kings, killed by family members, and hated by all types of people (Matthew 10:16–22). In the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus will explain that the world will hate us because they hate Him, and they hate Him because they hate His Father. The more Jesus speaks His Father's words and does His Father's deeds, the more the religious leaders hate Him. Likewise, the more we emulate Jesus, the more those antagonistic to God will hate us (John 15:18–25). Some will be so deceived that they will kill Jesus' followers, thinking they are protecting the name of God (John 16:1–3).
In that suffering, however, God promises blessing. The mournful will laugh, the hungry will be satisfied, and the poor will inherit the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20–21). When we follow Jesus' ways, God calls us His children (Luke 6:35). When we are free with forgiveness, we will find that God is free with His blessings (Luke 6:37–38).
Following Jesus involves changing through the power of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12–13). Once we have taken on Jesus' character and worked with the Holy Spirit to flee from sin and spiritual immaturity, then we can consider the righteousness of others. Only after we have judged whether our own actions reflect a life of devotion to God will we be ready to help others (Luke 6:41–42).
In John 13:16 Jesus also uses this concept of disciples not being above their teachers, there referring to a servant and master as well as a messenger and his sender, to exhort the disciples to humbly serve each other as He washes their feet.