barren withered and dry pastures, blind leading the blind, broad road, ditches, False Shepheds, False Spiritual Leaders, leaven metaphor for hypocrisy, Lord's voice, mini-parable, Pharisees and Sadducees outward religiosity, spiritual discernment, tree known by fruit
“And he spake a parable unto them, ‘Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch’” (Luke 6:39, KJV; cf. Matthew 15:14).
The reason why we need the Holy Spirit’s spiritual gift of discernment is because in the “institutional” church there are many sheep-looking hirelings/goats (false teachers, false preachers, false evangelists, false apostles, false pastors, false Christs, and so forth). We sheep, then, cannot trust that a sheep, is a sheep, is a sheep! Sheep’s clothing can deceive, which is why—as a result of spiritually blind sheep following other spiritually blind sheep ahead of them, solely based on their outward physical appearance—the spiritually blind just end up leading the spiritually blind into a ditch (cf. Luke 6:39; Matthew 15:14).
Jesus Christ taught His blind leading the blind mini-parable about the Pharisees and Sadducees who had an outward appearance of religiosity (they thought they were holier and more righteous than their Lord) but inwardly were as rotten as rotten could be. These Jewish religious leaders had no spiritual fruit emanating from their heart, because the Holy Spirit of God was not in them. Thus, the people who were following these wicked religious leaders by sight eventually would end up becoming just as rotten, inwardly, because the leaven (hypocrisy) of the Pharisees and Sadducees would infect (affect) everyone with whom they come in contact (cf. Matthew 16:6, 11-12; Mark 8:14-21; Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9).
The point here is that believers spiritually must be able to discern their Lord’s “voice,” because He is the ONLY Good Shepherd. Indeed, the Scriptures tell sold out for Christ believers that the Lord’s sheep will know HIS voice! Scriptures also say that HIS sheep can discern the difference between their Lord’s voice—HIS TRUTH, which is the entire WORD of God—and the strangers/hirelings’ voices—their “truths,” which often are examples of worldly wisdom or their own misinterpretations of the Word of God (or a combination of the two). Additionally, by the aid of the Holy Spirit and with the supernatural spiritual gift of discernment, Scriptures reveal to believers that Jesus Christ’s sheep not only can discern the difference between HIS voice and the voices of false Christs, false prophets, false teachers, false shepherds/pastors, and so forth, but also the Lord’s sheep immediately will flee from the presence of strangers/hirelings simply because they don’t know strangers/hirelings’ voices (cf. John10:4-5).
The bottom line is this: Jesus Christ’s voice is the ONLY way for today’s sheep to be able to distinguish between the voice of a true Christian (a sheep) or the voice of a pretend believer (a goat), because the Lord’s voice ALWAYS speaks absolute TRUTHS, which He can speak directly from His mouth, or through His Logos/the unadulterated written WORD. The Good Shepherd also can speak His absolute TRUTHS directly by way of the Holy Spirit’s prompting, leading and teaching, or indirectly from the lips of His faithful servants. However the Good Shepherd speaks, His sheep will know that His spoken Words will lead them to safe, secure, cultivated and well-stocked pastures, where spiritual nourishment and spiritual refreshment abundantly flow.
His spoken Words also will warn His sheep to look out for the ditches false shepherds, and other false spiritual leaders, dig by way of their polluted brands of truth—lies and hypocrisies that cause naïve sheep to fall into the dug ditches. Then too, the Lord’s spoken Words will warn His sheep to watch out for the unprotected, barren, grassless, and arid pastures that false shepherds, and other fake spiritual guides, lead naïve sheep to, where no spiritual nourishment or spiritual refreshment can flow! In essence, the Lord wants His sheep to be alert and spiritually discerning so that, when they hear “unknown” voices, they will have the common sense to flee from the presence of those false shepherds (pastors), false teachers, false prophets, false Christs, and the like.
In a nutshell, what the Lord’s blind leading the blind mini-parable alludes to is this proverbial expression: Without prophetic vision people perish. Put differently, there is no way a spiritually blind guide can teach others how to see their faults, if the guide has been blinded by his/her own faults. Thus, this mentioned proverbial wisdom, along with the already described unsafe, barren, withered, and dry pastures both point to the metaphorical “ditches” the Good Shepherd says His sheep will avoid, as long as they let His Voice guide them (cf. Proverbs 29:18)! A word to the wise should be sufficient! AMEN.