“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
I am striving to be one of Jesus’ perfect disciples so I must be as He was….
This verse is of the segment of judging others in a righteous manner and not to condemnation. Jesus gives a parable of the blind leading the blind vs. 39, that leads to vs. 40, above.
Here’s a brief commentary from Albert Barnes’ Notes.
The disciple is not … —The learner is not above his teacher, does not know more, and must expect to fare no better.
This seems to have been spoken to show them that they were not to expect that their disciples would go “beyond them” in attainments; that if they were blind, their followers would be also; and that therefore it was important for them to understand fully the doctrines of the gospel, and not to be blind leaders of the blind.
Every one who is perfect —The word rendered “is perfect” means sometimes to repair or mend, and is thus applied to mending nets, Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19 (James and John).
Hence, it means to repair or amend in a moral sense, or to make whole or complete (perfect). Here it means, evidently, “thoroughly instructed” or “informed.”
The Christian (disciple) should be as his/her Master:
- undefiled, and
- separate from sinners
We should follow His examples, and grow into His likeness. No other type of disciple can be a Christian.
Please note: the Christian is “a follower of Christ” not Christ-like. The term was established in the first century in Antioch.
- (Acts 11:26) …And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
- (Acts 26:28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
- (1 Peter 4:16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
In all three scriptures above, the word “Christian(s)” is (g5546) Christianos, a Christian, that is, “follower of Christ.” This word is used only three times in the New Testament.
In the beginning, during the first century church, to be called a Christian was to show a critical or disrespectful attitude toward them by the people in Antioch who added the (‘ian) syllable at the end of a group name to identify the followers of a person. For instance, those who followed Caesar were called Caesarian. That’s why the term Christians identifies those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, His doctrine, and His ways. For the first century church, it was an honor to be identified with Jesus as His disciples.
The same holds true to His disciples, today! We are honored to be called Christians because His Spirit dwelleth in us who are born of water, and of the (His) Spirit through baptism …and… we belong to Him (John 3:5; Romans 8:9-11). Who do you belong to?
He/She who hath an ear to hear, let them hear.