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Going like a sinner
Bible Passage Luke 18: 9- 14
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Luke.

Going like a sinner

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached November 7, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
9 Jesus also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves, thinking they were righteous, but who looked down on everyone else:

10 “Two men went up to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector.

11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, ‘O God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—thieves, dishonest people, adulterers, or even this tax collector.

12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of my entire income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. Instead, he continued to beat his chest and said, ‘O God, be merciful to me, the sinner that I am!’

14 I tell you, this man, rather than the other one, went down to his home justified, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be exalted.”

BACKGROUND
This is the second prayer parable of Luke 18. The first was about how a poor widow was consistent in her request to a judge and was granted.

This second one involved two men; a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to pray in the temple. It was normal for people to go to the temple court for private prayer. Devout worshippers went to pray three times daily; 9 am, 12 noon, and 3 pm. The Pharisees ‘stood’. The Jews usually stood when they prayed.

The Pharisees informed God of the wrong things that he had not done. He prayed with himself instead of praying to God. He presented a testimonial of himself to God. He then spoke of some religious practices that the Law did not require. The Law prescribed only one obligatory fast to the Jews, every Jew to fast on a special day that they called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). But those who wished to gain special merit fasted twice a week. Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. It is worth noting that these were market days when the town was full of many people, so they gave their piety the greatest possible audience in those days.

The Law ordered people to give a tenth of their oil, grain, and wine to the Levites (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). The Pharisees did more than this. He gave even a tenth of the small plants in his garden. He compared himself with the tax collector. The Pharisees thought that he was praying. But really, he was praising himself. He used the word ‘I’ many times, as he was interested only in himself. He compared himself with other people. He should have compared himself with God, who is holy.

Jesus rebuked those law-abiding people who thought their behaviour made them and their prayers acceptable to God. The Pharisee recounted his good deeds and expected God to be pleased with Him. He despised the tax collector and was sure that God did too.

But the tax collector did not attempt to impress God. He confessed himself as a sinner and asked God for mercy.

The tax collector put his head down. He kept hitting himself to show how sorry he was. He knew that he was a sinner. He knew that he needed God to forgive him. Nobody can be proud of him/herself in front of God. The men went home, but only the tax collector had pleased God. He had been humble and he asked God to forgive him. A person’s attitude is important to God.

God accepted the man who humbly repented but rejected the one who boasted of His virtue.

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 Despising your fellow human being and praising your good deeds already blocks your prayer from being heard by God

🔷 The good things we do can never earn us God’s response. It takes only God’s grace

 

PRAYER POINT🙏🏽
💥 Ask God to forgive your pride and be merciful to you

CONCLUSION📙
When we compare who we are and what we do with the holiness of God, we can only pray God be merciful unto us sinners.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections