“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
History and Context:
Of the four Gospels, Luke gives us the most thorough accoutn of the life of Jesus. Luke was a doctor, an educated man, who was careful to study out all writings and testimonies (most likely using Mark as a main source) and compiled an accurate account of the life of Jesus. He addressed his letter to Theophilus, a roman, although it is still debated whether this was a real name or simply a representative of the church as a whole. Theophilus simply means "friend of God" so many historians believe that Luke was using the name to address all of "God's friends". As Matthew seemed to emphasize the royalty of Christ and Mark seemed to emphasize His power, Luke seems to emphasize the love and compassion of Christ. Although there are some historical points of Luke's Gospel which are still debated, archaeology has generally proved him to be an accurate historian.
Jesus loved to teach in stories and analogies. He loved to take things that the people knew and worked with in their everyday life and use it to teach profound secrets about the Kingdom of God. Here He uses a now popular analogy of a tree and it's fruit. He says that it is clear that if the fruit of a tree is bad then the problem is not just the fruit, but the tree itself. In the same way, He said, if the words of a man are bad than the problem is not just the words but the heart. He makes a direct parallel between His two statements; "For every tree is known by it's fruit." and "For out of the abundance of a man's heart his mouth speaks." If a man is always speaking optimistically and looking towards the good, then we can see that he is a man of faith, but if a man is speaking pessimistically and looking towards the bad than he is a man of fear. If a man is speaking insults and tearing people down with his words, then he is a man of hate, but if a man is speaking encouragement and building people up he is a man of love.
Of course there are people who can learn to train themselves to speak in a certain way and deceive people of where their heart is, but what Jesus is talking about is there natural reaction. No matter how hard we may try not to, we always have those times in which we speak with out thinking. Most the time it is in a situation in which something doesn't go our way, or something bad happens. How do you respond in those times. Even beyond that though, no matter how hard someone tries to deceive people, if you pay close enough attention there heart will show. So the challenge here is not to worry about others but yourself. Listen to the words that come out of your mouth. Do you like what you hear? If not then there needs to be a change from the inside out. what Jesus has shown us is that it is a heart issue. Heart issues don't change overnight, but they take a process. Start seeking God to help you change your heart at the core. If your heart changes then your words will follow.
Lord, I have noticed that my words have shown a lot of ______ lately. Help me to change my heart on the inside so that these words can also change. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!