Mar 25 2013 - Luke 6:39-7:10 – Can the blind lead the blind?
Some years ago we were on holiday in the south of Cornwall in an area that was new to us. Our eldest daughter had come down to join us for part of the holiday. One day we took a trip out in two cars trying to find the coast road. We ended up down a lane that took us to the sea, but simply ended up on the beach rather than going along the coast. Nothing daunted, our daughter now decided that it was her turn to take charge. With a great cry of "I'll show you the way; follow me!" she set off in one of the cars leaving us to follow. After retracing our route back up to a junction she took us off down another lane. This one took us into a coastal village where we tried vainly to weave our way through the holiday crowds before realising that this too was a dead end and having to turn back. It's an incident that has become part of our family folk lore as we remind our daughter of her hasty words, "I'll show you the way; follow me!"
All of that was part of our holiday fun. How much more serious is such behaviour when we claim to be able to lead others safely through the maze of life. We need to be careful that we are not blind guides lest both we, and those following us, come to ruin.
How can we avoid such a fate? One way, of course, is never to seek to direct others. If they are lost and ask for help we could just tell them we've no idea of the way – they're on their own. But Jesus counsels a far better way. In the verse immediately following his warning concerning blind guides Jesus says, "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher" (Luke 6:40). We must be careful not to claim too much for ourselves; we are not the master, we are only students. Nevertheless, if we learn well from the master we become like him. The more we learn from Jesus and the closer we follow him, the more we are able to act as guides to others. He is the way, but knowing him and following him, we too can become signposts to the path of life rather than leading others down dead-ends.
But secondly, to become a good teacher we need to be a good learners from other students of Christ. I was reading this morning of Apollos in Acts 18:24-28. He was a man with a passion to teach the Scriptures and had some knowledge of Jesus. Apollos spoke boldly in the synagogue in Ephesus but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak, they realised that there were significant gaps in his knowledge; “they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18 26). Apollos did not resent this tuition but rather welcomed it; he was a passionate teacher but he had a teachable spirit. It was this readiness to listen and learn that made him all the more useful in pursuing his passion of teaching others about Christ. If we would lead others well we need always to be ready to learn from others and never think that others must always listen to us.
Lord Jesus, help me to learn of you and to follow closely in your footsteps. Give me a teachable spirit not only when I study your Word on my own but also in listening to others as they share the things you have taught them. So may my words and actions direct others to follow you in the path that leads to life. Help me to know that I can only lead others in pathways with which I have become familiar.