Tag Archives: Luke 18

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 228/260: The Tax Collector

Read Luke 18:9-14

Recognizing the Need

Jesus often taught through parables. These simple stories relayed important spiritual truths to the listeners. Many of the parables taught lessons about the kingdom of heaven; others were used to point out flaws in one’s attitude. In this particular parable, Jesus highlighted the difference in attitudes between a Pharisee who put his trust in how much better he was than other men, and a tax collector who recognized his great need.

The Pharisee, when he prayed, compared himself to other men. He listed a number of sins (or perceived sins) that he had avoided: “extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). He then extolled his own worth, saying, “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:12). It was almost as if he were telling God how great he was, instead of how great God is.

The tax collector, on the other hand, refused to even look up as he prayed. His prayer was simple and direct: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:14). He did not compare himself to other tax collectors who may have been cheating the people out of money. He did not tell God, “I might be a sinner, but at least I don’t sin like that!” He did not say, “Look how humble I am!”

No, he compared himself to the only thing that truly matters: God’s standard. When we stand before the Almighty, we will not be judged on a curve. We will not be compared to other men, no matter how good or bad they were or we were. We will be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48). And we will be acquitted of our wrongdoings if we are in Christ (Romans 8:1).

The tax collector knew that he needed the mercy of God. Every single person alive today still needs that same mercy, and it is provided through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. It is provided only to those who are in Christ. And the Scriptures are clear how one accesses such a gracious blessing: through baptism into His death (Romans 6:3-4). Do you recognize your need? Are you in Christ?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 18/260: Read Luke 18

The rich ruler checked all the right boxes. You couldn’t accuse him of breaking the law—of committing sinful acts. Adultery? Never. Murder? Of course not. Stealing? No. False witness? Wouldn’t dream of it.

Blamelessly he avoided the bad things, but the ruler wasn’t willing to do the good. “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Give up his stuff? How could Jesus ask him to give up everything he has worked so hard to amass? He earned it! It was his! Those poor people did nothing for it; why should he give them a handout?

Do you see the problem with that attitude? Do you ever exhibit that attitude yourself? Just a few chapters earlier, Jesus taught about doing good for others without the expectation of repayment. Instead of inviting friends, we should “invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” The result? “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14).

Don’t hoard your stuff; rather, share with those in need, regardless of their ability to repay.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Luke 19:10, “For the _____________ of Man has come to seek and to save that which was _____________.”

Pray

Pray for a proper perspective when it comes to physical or material blessings, recognizing it all belongs to God and we are just His stewards.