The gospel of Luke is continuing to ask and answer the question: Who is in the kingdom of God? Or to put the question another way: Who can be justified before God? In this parable Jesus is going to show who is justified before God and how such a one is justified. This parable is going to show two people trying two different means to find justification.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I 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 all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Practice The Way of Jesus:
In this story, not only did the Pharisee compare him to the tax collector, he also believed that his actions justified him before God.
This week, ask yourself: Am I tempted to believe that my acceptance by God is based on what I do or don’t do?
Consider what it would look like to be poor in spirit, to have a gratitude-driven wholeheartedness and to have a sober estimation of yourself.