Today in our passage, we are going to look at two people praying. Let’s look at their prayers, and see what we can learn about our own walk with God.
Luke 18: 10-14:
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayer thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
We see two men pray. One was a Pharisee, one was a tax collector. Just a little back ground, Pharisees would best be understood as sort of like preachers. They were educated, they knew the law and the customs of the people and part of what they did was they taught the law to the people and made sure that it was kept.
A Pharisee felt like his calling was to make sure that people correctly followed God and His law.
A tax collector was someone that was Jewish and worked for the Roman government. They quite often would use the power of the government to extort money from their own people. They were seen as traitors by other Jews, they were literally hated.
So, here we see a religious man that should be looked up and respected by his peers, and someone that was literally hated.
And yet, in this parable, who walks away forgiven? The tax collector.
Why? Why was he forgiven?
He asked for it. He admitted his need, and asked forgiveness for it. And he received forgiveness for it.
Why was the Pharisee not forgiven? He didn’t ask.
So, how are we forgiven? First, we have to realize that we need forgiveness. Don’t think we are perfect. Don’t think we’ve got it all figured out. Understand our need.
And then, ask for forgiveness. And we will be forgiven.
Today, no matter who you are, where you are, what has happened, you can be forgiven. Really. Just ask. It will happen.
Today, live in the forgiveness. Live in new life. You are forgiven.
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