Jump To The Lectionary Index

Jump To This Week's Lectionary Blog!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Who then can be saved? - The Pharisee and Tax Collector, Proper 25C

Read more thoughts on this passage, Blogs

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The 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. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"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.' 14"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."

We enter this passage containing this well known parable, after just hearing the question put by Jesus - "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" The question was put because the world is often like Sodom and Gomorah, and like at the time of Noah. There are few left who have faith. Surely the listener would ask the question that only gets asked a little later in the passage, "Who then can be saved?"

In the passages up to that passage we have three different situations presented: the parable of this week, the children coming to Jesus, and the story of the rich ruler asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Each of these illustrate three aspects of our relationship with Jesus: repentance, trusting faith, and a turning away from other gods.

The parable is constructed to contrast two opposite types of people. The person who trusts himself, and the person, who knows they cannot trust themselves. The Pharisee stands before God in the temple. The wording makes one see this man with an attitude of boldness. To approach God with an attitude of worthiness. The pharisee prays to himself (already the point is made that God is NOT hearing), "Thanks, I'm good, I don't need help like these others".

In contrast, the tax collector is only able to stand at a distance. One sees him as fearful or maybe ashamed. This man would not dare to be as bold as the pharisee, to come in close to God's presence. His eyes are averted, he beats his breast, and says, "God have mercy." This man's prayer is directed to God, asking for His mercy. The pharisee could not see that he needed mercy. Yet, God is a God who would give mercy to both (as we heard last week) ...

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and
night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.

The difference is that one saw his need and the other did not. The need was for mercy, which comes through repentance and faith... even faith that stands off at a distance fearfully! Read

When you look at your life, and you do not see much need to request mercy, be afraid! The one who does not ask for forgiveness, does not receive justification!

the king (who needs daily mercy) of the Hill email me

Search or read the Bible

Example: John 1 or love one another (ESV)

Which would be more important for this site?!
A new skin.
Better information.
Improved navigation.
Seperation of subject matter.
Other... please email
Current results

Powered by Blogger

Listed on BlogShares

Listed on Blogwise

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Blogroll Me!

ReadYourBible.com WebVerse!