Sunday 24 October 2010

Bible Book:

"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'" (v.13)

Luke 18:9-14 Sunday 24 October 2010


Luke's Gospel was probably written around 30 years after Jesusdied, and is traditionally associated with a doctor named Luke. Heseems to be interpreting the stories about Jesus in a way that nonJews would understand. He was keen to include detail and dates sothat those who read his book would believe that Jesus was God. Lukewanted everyone to share his faith.

In this passage, we hear one of the parables of Jesus. We are toldthat it was aimed at those "trusted in themselves that they wererighteous" (verse 9). It is easy to imagine Jesus listening tothese people bragging about how perfect they were, seeing how thisaffected those who were less sure of themselves, and telling thisstory to put them in their place. Imagine how embarrassed theywould have felt on hearing this parable.

Reading this parable, I wonder if I am too confident of my ownrighteousness. It is easy to believe that because I am a Christian,I can do nothing wrong. However, this is not what God tells us. Weare still sinners, still in need of grace. It is only when wehumble ourselves and recognise this that we can be 'justifiedbefore God' (ie put right with God, or have our relationshiprestored with God). On the other hand, God does not ask us to loseconfidence in God's righteousness. God loves us unconditionally andwithout restraint, so we have nothing to hide from the Creator. Weare created in God's image, and it is when we expose ourselves toGod's judgement that we are healed.

To Ponder

How confident are you in your own righteousness?Do you feel embarrassed when you read this parable?

Do you recognise yourself in the tax collector?Are you able to see your own failings?

Can you feel God's love in your life? Allowyourself to be healed by that unconditional love.

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