Have Mercy on Me, A Sinner
Read Luke 18: 9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “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.’ “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.”
Do you identify more with the Pharisee or the tax collector?
During my teenage years, I was a good kid. I obeyed my parents and teachers, I worked and studied hard, I volunteered, read my Bible, and went to church. I did not drink or party or do drugs. I was not promiscuous.
One night at a youth group, some kids were confessing their sins and sharing their testimonies. I remember a thought that popped into my brain. “Wow, I am glad I’m not like these kids.”
Yikes. It hurts to remember that. Thankfully, I have come to recognize that this attitude is the very attitude Jesus rebuked. He got so angry at the Pharisees and called them “foolish” and “blind” and said, “Woe to you!” The people who seemed to be behaving correctly and were being “good,” were the ones that Jesus condemned.
The tax collector who was dishonest and a traitor to his own people was “justified before God” because he recognized his sin and asked for God’s mercy. He knew that without God, He’d be lost. It wasn’t a matter of outward morality. It was a heart issue.
I was guilty of pride. I was a blind hypocrite. I professed to being a Christian but acted like I didn’t really need Christ. I couldn’t see the hidden sins in my own heart.
I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in my life for convicting me and showing me just how much I need a Savior. Whether you relate more to the Pharisee or the tax collector when it comes to outward morality, we all need Jesus in order to be justified. Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Jesus, no matter how good I try to be, I will always fall short of Your standard. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Thank you that I am justified before God only because of You. Amen.