Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Luke 18:1-14

v. 1-8 "Jesus told the disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and not give up."  The story was about a judge who did not fear God or care about men.  There was a woman in town who would continually go to the judge to ask for justice against her adversary.  The judge finally decided to help her since she was persistent and would not give up.  Jesus said "Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" 

"If we persist in prayer then we grow in character, faith, and hope."
                                                                                                                                                  NIV notes

We are to pray at all times and keep our petitions before God.  We are also to believe that He will answer those prayers.  Widows and orphans were some of the most vulnerable people in the bible, both Old and New Testament prophets said that we should take care of them.  If an unjust judge can respond to constant pressure then how much more will God respond since His love is so great for us.  This is sometimes hard to hear since there are many that are not delivered out of their situation right away or for many years.  I do not have an answer to that.  What I know is those that believe in God will be taken care of and have an eternal home one day.  Our heartache here will turn into great love in Heaven.  When Jesus says "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"  I think how sad because there are so many who have this information in the bible and choose to have faith in other things.  That is why I believe it is so important to have faith despite the persistent lack around the world.

v. 9- 14 There were those who were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on others.  Jesus told this parable about them.  "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself; 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'" Now it was the tax collectors turn.  "But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his chest and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'"  "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The people would go to pray at the temple so there were probably others around when they prayed.  I think the majority of the Pharisees went to the temple to announce how holy they were instead of praying to God.  The tax collectors were considered "sinners" back then so the Pharisees had a low opinion of them.  Works of the flesh are dead works and have no meaning in God's economy. 

The difference between these two men:

  • he was proud and prayed about how good he was
  • probably prayed loudly for all to hear
  • said God's name for self recognition only
  • pointed out how good he was compared to "sinners"
  • proclaimed his good works of fasting and tithing
Tax collector
  • he stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven
  • he was humble before God
  • he beat his chest in agony
  • he recognized his sin
  • he asked God to have mercy on him
  • he did not point out other sinners
"Self righteousness is dangerous.  It leads to pride, causes a person to despise others, and prevents him or her from learning anything from God.  The tax collector's prayer should be our prayer because we all need God's mercy everyday.  Don't let pride in your achievements cut you off from God."
                                                                                                                                                  NIV notes

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