June 19, 2015

Luke 18_13

Luke 18:9-14

Who is righteous? What the Pharisee says is true. The Pharisee has set himself apart from others by adherence to the law. So before we judge him too quickly, we must ask ourselves if we have not uttered this same prayer many a time. Maybe we haven’t said that we are better than others, we are just thankful we are not like them. It isn’t that the Pharisee is speaking falsely, but rather that the Pharisee misses the true nature of his blessing. As Luke states in his introductory sentence, “he has trusted in himself.” His prayer of gratitude may be spoken to the Lord, but it is really about himself. He locates his righteousness entirely in his own actions and being.

The tax collector, knows that he has no means by which to claim righteousness before God. He has done nothing to please God, but more so to offend the law. For this reason he stands back, finding it hard to approach the holy space, and therefore can only throws himself on the mercy of the Lord.

Here is the essential contrast. One makes a claim to righteousness based on his own accomplishments, while the other relies entirely upon the Lord’s benevolence.

Prayer: Lord of all, be merciful to me a sinner. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Dieter Punt, Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Troutman, NC.

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One Response to June 19, 2015

  1. Danny Ward says:

    To set ones self up higher than others is a sin unto itself. The Bible says do not think more highly of yourself than you ought. The Pharisee did not get that memo. The tax collector knew he was a sinner, beats his chest and begs for forgiveness. Should we also need to be more like the tax collector? To humbly bow before God and ask for forgiveness?

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