Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 26
April 20, 2008
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
1901 ASV Translation:
37 And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released:
- I. The Issue of Reciprocation.
- A. What did Jesus mean when He said that the behavior would be returned in kind?
- 1. The question is whether Jesus is promising that "evil" behavior will not be returned in kind. If "judging" is "evil" and I refrain from doing it, does that mean that I will not be subjected to "evil judgment"? How can this be when all through the New Testament the disciples of Jesus are told pointedly that they will be persecuted, maligned, and mistreated in a host of ways? At the very beginning of this unit of teaching we find Jesus addressing the situation of being "blessed" when men "hate you, ... separate you from their company, ... reproach you, and cast out your name as evil for the Son of Man's sake." The more immediate context of "loving your enemies, doing good to them who hate you, blessing them who curse you, praying for them who despitefully use you" tends to create the impression that true disciples who do no "evil" are going to be treated badly because of their godliness. Then come these words that imply that they will not be treated badly if they do well.
- 2. Or was the issue in Jesus' mind that if I refrain from "evil judgment", I will not be subjected to "legitimate judgment"? In other words, if I restrain myself from doing evil, will I be exempted from judgment for doing evil? If this is the case, the words change meaning immediately. Do not judge in an evil manner and you will not be judged in a righteous manner?? Do not condemn for personal gain and you will not be legitimately condemned?? This from Jesus Who was condemned illegitimately for doing good and Who told those who followed Him that men would do far worse to the righteous as time progressed (Luke 23:28-31)??
- 3. Or was the issue in Jesus' mind the reality that there are two "worlds" out there: a world in antagonism against true disciples where evil will be done to them no matter what they do; and a world that is not antagonized by good and responds in kind? It is a fact that, in the world in general, the majority of people do not treat the disciples of Jesus badly; it is normally an individual, or a small group of vested interests, who seek to harm them. It is a "proverb" that being kind leads to being treated kindly. In other words, it is generally true that people respond to good behavior with like behavior. Did not Jesus say in this text that "sinners" "love them who love them back"? There are two "worlds" out there. There is a "world" in which there are those who do not love those who love them back, and there is a "world" out there in which those who are loved return the favor.
- B. Who is going to do this reciprocating?
- 1. The AV puts "shall men give into your bosom" into 6:38, but there is no word for "men" in the Textus Receptus (the Greek text behind the AV); it just has a "generic" third person plural of the verb "to give" -- i.e., "they shall give into your bosom". Though it is not a large "jump" from "they" to "men", it is a "jump".
- 2. The issue is a bit complicated by texts like Matthew 6:15-18 and Mark 11:25-26 where Jesus makes it "your Father" Who does the reciprocating.
- 3. In a sense, because God does have a lot of input behind the scenes as to what men do and do not do (Proverbs 16:1, 9; Proverbs 19:21 and Proverbs 21:1), it is a moot issue to ask who is going to do this reciprocating. Both men and God are involved in many of the consequential reactions that come upon men.