He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [posing outwardly as upright and in right standing with God], and who viewed others with contempt: Luke 18:9.
During the first century, Jesus attempted to expose the spiritual blindness of religious leaders by using a parable. This analogy compared one outstanding citizen, a Pharisee with a stellar reputation to a tax collector, the most corrupt and dishonest occupations at the time. Jesus made his point by noticing the prayer habits of these two men. This so called good guy exalted himself without any acknowledgement, gratitude or praise for the Lord above. Meanwhile, the social misfit, hated by society, did not feel worthy to look up to heaven. Rather, this tax collector beat his chest, disgusted by the spiritual condition of his soul.
The Pharisee stood [ostentatiously] and began praying to himself [in a self-righteous way, saying]: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—swindlers, unjust (dishonest), adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but was striking his chest [in humility and repentance], saying, ‘God, be merciful and gracious to me, the [especially wicked] sinner [that I am]!’– Luke 18:11-13.
Life is full of cycles. phases and transitional periods. During these ups and downs, God humbles the proud and lifts up the meek. The hardest part of these emotional experiences is remembering where you came from. In the darkest days of Job’s trials, this broken man once said, “from ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” This confession reflects upon God creating Adam out of the dust only to return to the ground following his death. When human beings recognize the frailty of life, a mist that appears for a while then quickly vanishes, this should move the spiritually blind to humility. May this painful reality prompt acts of faith to get your life in order this year.
by Jay Mankus