Luke 18; The Pharisee and Publican


I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 

 18:10    Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 

 18:11    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 

 18:12    I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 

 18:13    And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 

 18:14    I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 

Who do you identify with most in this story? Pride is so deceitful. A couple decades ago, I actually sat and listened to a lady brag to me about how humble she was. She had no idea what exactly she was doing. A few years later, I was visiting with a family who thought they were being perfectly humble by telling me that nobody is perfect, and then emphasizing , “NOT EVEN US!”  We all are tempted to take pride in our humility, if that even makes sense. This is why we need to ask Jesus to anoint our eyes with eyesalve so that we may see. When we see ourselves the way we really are, we will, like Paul confess that we are the chief of sinners.

It was the publican who went away justified. “ What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.”  {Faith I Live By 111}

It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.  {Desire of Ages 83} 

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”

–          Isaac Watts – When I survey the Wondrous Cross

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