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Friday, October 5, 2012

The measure that you mete

In various places in the Gospels we find Jesus making this statement,"The measure that you mete, shall measured to you again..." (found in  the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke ).  What does it mean?   What did Jesus mean by it?  Why did he apply the statement in certain circumstances? What were we to learn from it? This is the reason for this Bible study:

I. The measure that you mete: What does it mean?

Definition of the word "measure":

A) Biblical: Portion, Degree (Source: Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament)

B) Common: Portion, Scope (Source: Dictionary.com)

Definition of the word "Mete":

A) Biblical: To measure, to estimate (Source: Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament)

B) Common: To distribute or apportion by measure; allot; dole (usually followed by out ): To ration out. (Source: Dictionary.com)

From the above definitions we can safely deduce that the phrase "the measure that you mete"  can also be rendered "the degree or standard or scope that you use or give out toward others or anything"

II. What did Jesus mean by it?

It appears that Jesus was stating a principle.  A principle that will work on its own under certain conditions and circumstances. The question is what are those conditions and circumstances? We will find the answer to that question when we discover when and where Jesus spoke that phrase.

Jesus said it during the Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 7:1-2
"Judge not, that ye be not judged.For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

Jesus said it during the Sermon by the Sea 
Mark 4:24
"And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given."

Jesus said it during the Sermon on the Plain
Luke 6:38
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

In each case Jesus indicated that this principle of "measuring what you mete" works on its own under these three conditions: Having judgment toward others, giving attention to what is being said and being generous toward others.  In each case the principle works and produces this result: "It shall be measured to you again".  Let us look at each condition so that we can glean from them what Jesus wanted us to learn.

Matthew 7:1-5
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

It appears that what Jesus wanted us to learn is that we are not to judge people, but in the case that we do judge someone,  let us be aware that the standard that we use to judge that person is the same standard we judge ourselves with.  We can not judge someone with the same issues or problems we have to deal with in order to correct them, is according to Jesus is hypocritical behavior.  We can only help someone correct themselves if we have been delivered of the same issue or problem. We cannot when we have not be delivered of the same issue or problem of the one that we are judging.  That is why it is wise to not judge another person that has a shortcoming or is struggling with an issue,  if we have not be delivered of the same shortcoming or problem ourselves.  On top of that if anyone of us judge harshly, we should expect to be harshly judged.

Mark 4:24+25
"And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath."

It appears that what Jesus wanted us to learn here is that we need to pay attention to what we hear.  The more knowledge we acquire through careful listening the more information and knowledge we will have.  It is when we stop listening for more information that our personal knowledge becomes obsolete  and  not useful.  More than that as our personal knowledge of things takes a hit from personal memory loss, if we don't continue to listen to the information that is being promoted in our communities and our homes.  I would also advise that the information that you hear is Christ centered or practical.  For is also what you pay attention to that dictates the quality of your life.

Luke 6:38
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

It appears that Jesus wanted us to learn here is that we need to be prepared to be generous. This passage of scripture is often used in application to giving money.  That is well and good, but we have fallen short of the full meaning of the scripture.  Jesus did not place a limit to what we ought to give. Some of us can give our time, some our talents, some our property and some our abilities along with giving money.  I can not tell you how many times I have seen this principle work with more than money.  One time I was a part of a ministry in Vineland, NJ where they had clothes that they were giving away, the more they gave away, the more came in.  Soon they did not have room to have bible studies for the amount of clothes that came in.  Another time I was helping oversee a food pantry ministry in Camden, NJ.  The more food we gave away, the more food and the things to store them with came in.  Soon after that we had to build a storage room and regulate the flow of food coming through the ministry because of the amount of food coming through was great. The only reason I believe this works is because when you give, you do not give to get, you give to bless and God sets up people to bless you in return.  God does not bless selfishness, he blesses generosity, because it emulates His character. God loves that His children emulate him.  So it is clear that whatsoever we give to others will be multiplied back us, if we do it unselfishly and generously.

I hope that this study has bless you as it has blessed me.





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