“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Jesus shared the reality of every human life. If we reach the top the only direction left is down. If we are at the bottom the only direction left is up. This is simply natural. With God, however, there is the added dimension of why a person is in either position. God will not come in second in our lives. He demands first place. The Pharisee in this account gave credit for his righteousness to himself. The Tax Collector didn’t claim any righteousness for himself but only bowed to the mercy of God.
Jesus came for those of us who see ourselves on the bottom, sinful and unclean. He has sent His Spirit to reveal to us our sinfulness so that we might fall on our knees and seek His mercy through putting our trust in Jesus. There is no short circuiting this process to our salvation. It is those with humble hearts and minds that put their trust in Jesus, rather than themselves, that find life eternal with their Creator.
Heavenly Father, it is only through Your mercy given to us through the sacrifice of Your dear Son, that we have any place in Your Eternal Kingdom. So much of what we are resists Your love of us, and yet You persist to draw us to Yourself by the power of Your Spirit, enabling us to put our faith in Jesus. Thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness that makes us part of Your Forever Family. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.