Yesterday morning during my quiet time I was reading in Matthew and Luke, and what I was learning I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to share. 140 characters on twitter just wouldn’t do it justice. Posting a status about it on Facebook would be too long to where people would probably just scroll through it. I mean ya gotta admit… sometimes you see a long status and think, “Ehhhhhh too long”. So a blog… yes, a blog was my final conclusion so that if you are meant to read this blog for whatever reason you decided to click on it, then you will! Which, I say in advance, thank you for reading! Haha I hope you are blessed the same way the Lord blessed me while reading it and what He was stirring in my heart. I only hope I can do it justice!
Luke 18:9-14, “He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Now lets think about the Pharisee and the tax collector. How were they different? The Pharisee stood by himself, thanking God that he wasn’t like other bad people, and telling God that he fasted twice this week and gave a tenth of all he has. As to where the tax collector stood at a distance, wouldn’t look up, and beat his chest as he prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Now which of these two men were justified? Well… The tax collector! The tax collector was poor in spirit, and broken. He came to the Lord knowing he is a sinner and humbled himself before the Lord, therefore, God exalted him.
This story leads me to my main point and final scripture. Matthew 9:10-13, “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Now how does this relate to the parable I mentioned above? The Pharisee in the story didn’t humble himself before the Lord knowing he was a sinner like the tax collector did. The tax collector was poor in spirit, meaning he realized his sin and his spiritual emptiness and poverty. BOOM… connection made. That happened. The Pharisee in my opinion considered himself perfect enough and trusted in his works. Romans 8:3-4 says, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”’ But who is good enough? None of us are qualified, but it is Jesus’s death on the cross that makes us able!
We are all sinful. We were born that way!! We are so, so unworthy. I mean do you realize how dirty we are? How bad we are and we may not even really realize it? I sin daily. I am in constant need of Gods grace and mercy! I am sick and in need of a doctor… in need of Jesus. Jesus came for the sinners! You and me! We are unworthy of Gods love and mercy, and the tax collector knew that. He couldn’t even look to heaven he was so ashamed! He knew he was unworthy and therefore God exalted him. We must humble ourselves and realize that we are sinners, unworthy and undeserving of Christ. But the joy in knowing that, is that he loves us so much and that he came down and took on the pain on the cross for our sins. Was crucified to set you and me free from having to be ‘perfect’. Then we must confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that He is God, and that He rose from the dead, and then live to bring Him joy and honor! The one who gave us life in the first place. Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”