Reading Hearts – Gospel in Life

Reading Hearts

Tim Keller |  July 9, 2000

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  • Sharing Your Faith
  • Understanding the Gospel
Matthew 7:1-6
RS 115-4


Today we’re going to look at a hard saying of Jesus in Matthew 7:6. Verses 1–5 are music to modern people’s ears — there’s nothing hard or particularly difficult about the first five verses. But in the context of the entire passage, you will see why verse 6 can be so difficult for people to understand and accept.

Jesus is likening someone to a dog and to a pig. It almost seems contradictory to verses 1-5, right? And how does it square with his charge to tell everyone the good news? Are we to write people off? What Jesus means here is that animals need care, i.e. you shouldn’t give pigs something they can’t digest or handle. So when we look at the parable in this light, we see that Jesus is actually scolding the caretaker in a sense. Let’s look further into what this teaches us about the hearts we have and the help we need.

Matthew 7:1–6

Looking at Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:6, a puzzle appears: Jesus tells us not to judge, but then calls someone a pig or a dog. But if we dig deeper, we see that Jesus isn’t talking about the animals, but the people looking after them. He’s teaching us about the condition of our hearts and the help we need. This verse helps us understand important truths about human nature and our search for ultimate truth and reality.

1. The hearts we have

Jesus’s story of the pearl and the pig shows that we often don’t see the true value of spiritual things, just like a pig can’t see the value of a pearl. According to Jesus, eternal life isn’t just something we hope for in the future. It’s a better way of life that lets us see everything more clearly, including God’s holiness, Jesus’s love, and the endless value of the human soul. Jesus encourages us to change and fully experience this eternal life. Otherwise, these truths just become ideas in our heads, not a part of our everyday lives.

2. The help we need

It’s important to see how beautiful Jesus is and to have friends who help us make wise choices. But we need to be careful not to use our faith just to get what we want. When we share the good news of Jesus, we should do it with care and kindness, always balancing truth with love. We should focus on appreciating Jesus, building wise friendships, and always growing and searching for truth.



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