It seemed like a normal traffic stop.
On June 26 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, police noticed a car with expired tags, so they hit the lights and pulled over a man named Stephen and his passenger. The officers immediately spotted an open container of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey. After asking the occupants to exit the vehicle, they turned up an unregistered firearm. Then they found a rattlesnake in the backseat! Then they found a canister of powdered uranium!
A private company was called in to handle the uranium, and the two occupants were hauled off to jail, but the officers said neither person could explain why they had a canister of uranium. However, judging by the whiskey, the illegal gun, the rattlesnake, and the uranium—they were obviously up to no good!
In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus said that when one is judged by their fruit (i.e., their words and deeds), we learn something deeper. When the fruit is good, we learn that the tree (i.e., heart) is good. When the fruit is bad, we learn that the heart is bad. When our fruit is bad, it’s not that we’ve just been up to no good. When our fruit is bad, it is in fact that we are no good.
When our fruit is bad, it is in fact that we are no good.
But specifically, what fruit is Jesus talking about?
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus used the same metaphor of tree and fruit as he called his disciples to judge between true and false teachers. Twice he said, “You will recognize them by their fruits,” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Perhaps that is what Jesus has in mind here in Luke as he employs the metaphor once again, but I think its more likely that here in Luke Jesus is calling his disciples to examine themselves. He is perhaps especially calling them to examine themselves in light of what he has already taught in this sermon.
When we look back to the beginning of this sermon in Luke 6:20, we see that good fruit is understanding that your poverty, your hunger, your sorrow, and the rejection you experience are actually all blessings from God if they make you desperate for God. It’s understanding that riches, full stomachs, merriment, and the praise of others are actually all curses if they make you numb to your need for God.
Beginning in Luke 6:27, we see that good fruit is loving your enemies, doing good to those that hate you, blessing those that curse you, and praying for those who abuse you. It’s turning the other cheek when you’re struck, giving and not expecting anything in return. It’s doing to others as you would have them do to you. It’s being merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.
Then in Luke 6:37 Jesus said that good fruit is remembering that you’ve received grace and never believing that someone is beyond the reach of grace.
Good fruit is remembering that you’ve received grace and never believing that someone is beyond the reach of grace.
It’s refusing to judge and condemn a person as unworthy of the Gospel. It’s examining yourself, before you examine others. Now, based on everything that Jesus has said in this sermon so far, how are you doing? Are you bearing bad fruit or good? Are you a good tree or bad? Unless our hearts treasure Jesus, we will not bear good fruit as his disciples.
Unless our hearts treasure Jesus, we will not bear good fruit as his disciples.
In the coming days, we'll look at those big ideas found in Luke 6:43-45 - the heart, the treasure, and the fruit.