Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
There’s an interesting juxtaposition in our Gospel reading this week, one that I had never really thought of. Let’s go exploring for a moment. In Luke 18:9-17 we read about the Pharisee and the tax collector, both praying. The Pharisee is proud of himself. In his prayer, he praises himself, runs down his opponents briefly, and is done. The tax collector’s prayer, however, simply asks for mercy. It’s the tax collector who is justified in his prayer.
Immediately afterward, Luke tells us about people bringing children to Jesus for blessing. Young children are almost uniformly the center of their worlds. They consider themselves the most important. It’s all about what they have or don’t have, what they want or don’t want.
Who are the children more like? They are more like the Pharisee. By God’s grace, I hope their parents who are bringing them are more like the tax collector. How are the children going to grow up? We hope they were reminded that the Lord Jesus had blessed them and that all the blessing they received came from Him. I expect that message did get through to some of them.
How do we respond to God’s blessings, including his justification of us, His redemption of us while we were his enemies? We can ask the same question of the tax collector who went home justified. How did he pray the next time? We really don’t know. Yet we pray, by God’s grace, that we will receive God’s blessings as a cherished gift, then want more. May we always turn to the Lord for His help and care, not trusting in ourselves but trusting in him.
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