Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of ones self) (02/19/15)
- TITLE: Which Man Was More Justified?
By Patricia Coldiron
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Pharisees made up one of three major religious societies at the time of the New Testament and followed very strict religious laws which included praying a certain number of times a day, paying a tithe, fasting, memorizing the Torah, and visiting the temple. Anyone not following the rules was looked at with disdain and considered a sinner.
Listen to the boastful prayer of the Pharisee, as he stood in the center of the temple. āGod, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.ā
Puffed up with pride, his prayer didnāt contain any request for forgiveness of his sins, and he didnāt thank God for his many blessings. His prayer was self-serving, and the only thing that he was thankful for was that he was better than everyone else.
Tax collectors were fellow Jews, but collected taxes according to Roman law. People despised them because they frequently collected more tax than was due to line their own pockets. Taxes could be collected including what a man was carrying, sales tax, property tax, crop tax, as well as wine, fruit, and olive oil tax.
The tax collector felt the crushing weight of his sins and begged for forgiveness. Luke 18:13 details the humble prayer of the tax collector. āBut the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, āGod, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Jesus finished the parable with a very important point. He asked the crowd which man was more justified towards God. āI tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.ā
Some people think like the Pharisee that by doing good works they will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Good works such as attending church, and returning tithes and offerings are pleasing to God, but without true repentance, there is no salvation.
No one would disagree that the tax collector was a poster boy for bad behavior, but seeing Jesus made him realize the enormity of his sin, and he knew Jesus was the only one who could forgive him. Romans 3:28 tells us that we can be set free from guilt by faith. āTherefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.ā
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