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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

The Tax Collector

Luke 18:13

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.’”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector is a well known parable that Jesus told to a crowd of people who were “confident of their own righteousness” who “looked down on everyone else.” Luke 18:9.

This means that they did all the right things, read all the right things, and said all the right things, but they did them with arrogance and pride. And in this pride and arrogance they did not acknowledge their sins.

The Tax Collector was a sinner and he knew it, and he acknowledged this before God.  In his remorse he begged for God’s mercy.

The Holy Spirit leads us, if we are willing, into an ever deepening relationship with God.  In this process comes an ever increasing sense of self awareness.  We become increasingly aware, not of the sins of others, but of our sins.  With this awareness comes a deep conviction that will not let us rest until we fall on our knees and beg for forgiveness.

We don’t know if the Tax Collector changed his life after he left the temple, although Jesus said that he left being justified (made right) by God.  The Pharisee left the temple still unaware of his sins, still unforgiven, and unjustified.

Let us all pray to be as self-aware and as repentant as the Tax Collector. 

May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

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