This week’ posting from the Social Gospel Blog will move on to part 2 of Luke chapter 18
‘Stories of Persistence, Arrogance and Humility
(Part Two: Luke chapter 18, verses 9–14)
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
Last week when we left off at part 1 of Luke chapter 18, I was on the topic of prayer and our faith as they relate to our relationship with Christ. Although all Christians wait faithfully for Christ’s return, our waiting must be accompanied by nearly continuous prayer. When Jesus does return, will there be anyone left to greet him? So help me and by the grace of God, I will be there if I am still living, so there’s one. (but I will rise if I have fallen asleep) Would anybody else like to be there besides myself? You know, if we were only to lift up one another in prayer nearly continuously, there’s no telling how much we could accomplish as a united people. And God created us to live in unity with each other, not to be in competition with one another. On that thought, let’s move on to part 2 of today’s biblical study starting at verse 9.
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody 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 up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Luke 18, verses 9–14)
To those people who thought they didn’t need God or other people and who felt no need for repentance from their sins, this latest parable was directed at them. There were some in the crowd that surrounded Jesus and the Twelve everywhere they went just like there are today, except that today there are far more of them, those who love evil more than good. Their end will be the fires of hell, and sadly they either don’t or won’t believe it. No amount of…