This Devotional series which is part of the Clayton Church Value-Based Discipleship series, which was launched on Sunday 23 July 2017.
Passage: Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stoof by himself and prayed:
God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector, I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast 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 all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
The words of the tax collector clearly stand out as the key impartation from this passage:
God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience):
Jesus was teaching on the importance of the attitude and how He/God sees it. Using the story of two men, one who has the outward and worldly appearance of being respectable, of honorable occupation, his heart reflected an attitude of arrogance where he intentionally gave and served God but made a show and display of it. He announced to those around within hearing distance that he was better than them and disparaged the lower socio-economic status of the other man.
In contrast, the other man held a lower status according to the norms of society – a tax collector who in those days was a despised occupation bordering on traitorous intent since they were viewed as agents of the over-lording Roman Empire. In his humility, his heart was pure and sincere as he came before the Almighty presence of God, symbolised by the temple location where all offerings were submitted.
Jesus explained that because God looks at our heart and values the humility displayed by the tax collector, that man would receive God’s grace over the other.
What I Discovered
The following revelations are discerned from the passage:
- A clear theme continues from the first three days of devotion thus far, where Jesus’ focus and teaching is about our hearts.
- True humility, and not outward impressions of humility are valued by God
Obedience Step “I Will”
My response to this passage takes the form of the following “I will” statements.
- I will be mindful of my thoughts and heart condition – this is a repetition of previous I Will statements
- I will be careful to not become like the arrogant Pharisee, which is a greater concern for people in my position where leading does require a certain level of visibility and transparency in what we do.
Today’s devotion is summarised in two featured graphics, which have been added to my Threadless Artist Shop under the collection Discipleship Devotionals. The first graphic at the top of this article was an independent posting by our Senior Pastor on the Clayton Church Facebook Community Group:
Devotional Day 4 – Luke 18:9
He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men:
“Self righteousness builds walls. Righteousness from Jesus builds bridges between brokenness and holiness.”
God help me be a disciple with a Christ like heart who is a bridge builder!”