Humbly Pray

The Pharisee was a fine gentleman, who spoke well and had the respect of the entire community.  He was the sort of fellow we would all like to invite over for dinner. A man with a good testimony; he followed the law without fail and made sure to give a tenth of his income to the temple. There was one problem with the Pharisee, he was proud. He thought he was better than everyone else. (Luke 18:9-12)

There was also a tax collector and as expected he was not very popular. No one wanted to have him over for dinner. All tax collectors were suspected of cheating and cheating the poor of Israel.  They were seen as traitors since they collected taxes for Rome. Some considered tax collectors to be simply the worst. Well it’s not like tax collectors are any more popular today. (Luke 18:13-14)

They both came before God to pray. The Pharisee came before almighty and holy God and thanked Him for making him so wonderful. He was proud of how good he was. Perhaps he simply wanted to remind God. God was not impressed.

The tax collector understood his condition. He was completely aware of God’s holiness and how far sin had taken him from God’s presence. He approached God with all the reverence God deserved and all the humbleness his state required.  Jesus explains that he could not even lift his head and beat upon his chest on account of his guilt, shame and pain. God was pleased.

Jesus explained that the tax collector was forgiven or justified and the pharisee would not be. (Luke 18:14) We must be careful to come before God in reverence, and humility, understanding that we are sinners and He is holy. We are in need of forgiveness. This is the very reason why Jesus gave His life, that we may be forgiven, if we simply believe.

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