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What did Jesus mean when he said, "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?"?

In this passage is Jesus talking about two sinners and is the ditch hell?

Luke 6:39

ESV - 39 He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

Clarify Share Report Asked May 06 2018 Received 167270910322119 Gregory Jones

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Matthew's gospel (Matthew 15:1-20) elaborates on the circumstances surrounding this verse from Luke.

In the centuries since the giving of the Old Testament Law to Israel by God through Moses (in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), the Jewish religious authorities had added to the Law many man-made traditions and requirements not commanded by God for the people to learn and obey.

These man-made rules had nothing to do with an individual's intentions or thoughts, but were strictly visible, external actions that the authorities said were just as important as the commandments that God had given, and that the authorities imposed with the goal of increasing their own power and control over the lives of the people. 

One of these requirements was the ritualized washing of hands before eating as a means of avoiding spiritual defilement (making oneself spiritually "unclean" in God's eyes). The belief was that eating with unwashed hands would cause the food that was eaten to spiritually harm the individual, and would make him ceremonially "unclean" in God's eyes from a religious standpoint.

When Jesus and His followers ate food without having first gone through the required hand-washing rituals, the religious authorities were offended, and accused them of violating the tradition of the elders.

In response, Jesus said that the religious authorities (who had supposedly been appointed by God to lead the people out of spiritual ignorance or blindness by insuring the keeping of God's Law) were showing by their man-made traditions (some of which actually contradicted the original intent of God's Law) that they were just as spiritually blind (but willfully and deliberately so, rather than from ignorance) as the common people whom they were supposed to lead.

Jesus added that, in the case of the hand-washing requirement, it was not the things that went into a person (through food consumption) that made the person spiritually unclean, but the things that "came out" of a person (in the form of evil thoughts, words, and actions) that were the true source of uncleanness in God's eyes.

Jesus also gave an example of the religious authorities using their man-made traditions to promote the disregarding of God's clear commandment (specifically, in Jesus' example, the commandment to honor one's father and mother (Exodus 20:12)) by permitting people to avoid the obligation to physically provide for their parents in their old age by dedicating the resources that they would have spent on their parents to God's use instead. This action had the outward appearance of being very "religious", but was, in fact, hypocritical and disobedient because it was done from impure motives, and allowed the parents to suffer.

Jesus then concluded by saying that if the people were being led by religious authorities who were just as spiritually blind as the people whom they were supposed to be leading and teaching, they would all be spiritually condemned in God's eyes -- just as, if a physically blind man was being led by someone else who was also blind, they would not be safe, but would both be in danger of falling off the road into a ditch because of neither of them being able to see where they were going. The ditch in the parable thus represents a condition of being spiritually separated (temporally, eternally, or both) from God.

May 07 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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