Where are you at this moment?
Do you wonder why you are where you are?
Long ago, a beautiful young Jewish girl was snatched from her home, probably in the middle of the night. She was taken from the only family she had left, her uncle Mordecai’s home.Keep Reading here»
My husband and I teach a group of young people and have for the past 7 years. Each year when we ask what topics the young ladies and gentlemen would like to cover, one topic resurfaces time and again…especially among the girls.
Not dating, not sex, not drugs or alcohol, but self image.Keep Reading here»
If I asked you right now how you are, many of you would probably give me that pat answer we all do just to get by.
But, if you’re like me, you may have a lot of stress and business going on in your life. You may feel out of control. You may climb in bed each and every night and be thinking “I’m exhausted!”.Keep Reading here»
Who are your friends?
Or better yet, I should ask, who do you strive to have as your friends? As in, if you were going to have a party at your house, who would you want to invite for the evening? Surely it would run through your mind to invite someone popular? You know, the life of the party person? The one you can tell everyone you had over and who in turn, might invite you to one of their fabulous parties in return?Keep Reading here»
I love this parable.
Simply ADORE it.Keep Reading here»
Today’s parable is a simple one. Yet it is probably one of the hardest things for many people to accept that are coming out of a life of sin.
Let’s look at the parable in Luke. 3Keep Reading here»
I have to confess something to you. I’ve always been a bit of a lover of the underdog. I love movies like Rudy and Facing the Giants and yes, even Rocky. I love it when someone who is ” a nothing” becomes someone and an over-exalted person ( in the eyes of man) gets a bit of a humbling experience.
And I think this is the way God views us as well. Take this parable Jesus told to the disciples.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 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. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
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.’
14 “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.” (Luke 8:9-14)
The story of the Publican and the Pharisee was pretty clear in its meaning. And there is one thing that Jesus made sure to include in this story…
He made sure He used a stark contrast between a church leader and a heathen.
That’s right, I think most of us from time to time hear the word “Pharisee”, but do we really understand that the Pharisees of that time were the leaders in the church? Their very name meant “set apart”. At the time of the New Testament, there were three major religious “society classes” among the Jews –The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes.
The Pharisees were the most influential of these three classes of church leaders. If it were modern day, they would be considered to the far right in politics. They were very conservative and held tightly to the Torah and the Jewish law and prided themselves on their high morals. That, in itself is not a crime, in the eyes of Jesus…look again at what He didn’t like in verse 9.
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else”.
First off, Jesus didn’t like that they were confident in their own righteousness. The Greek word here means “trusted in”. The Pharisees were not putting their trust in God, but in themselves. They had become so puffed up that they had forgotten who their trust should be in. In short, they were prideful, and Jesus hate that.
Do you hear that? Jesus hated pride!
Secondly, Jesus didn’t like that in the process of thinking themselves so important, that the Pharisees in turn, looked down on others.
Enter the Publican.
Publicans, or tax collectors, in that day were even more unpopular than they are in the here and now. People viewed them as traitors working for the Roman government and many times, they cheated the Jews out of their hard-earned money by charging them extra and pocketing the change.
They were pretty much despised by all who knew them. The Publican was the direct opposite on the social popularity scheme than the Pharisee. He was not at all liked by those in the Jewish culture or particularly the synagogue. Find the bottom rung on the totem pole and then step off and dig a hole and climb on down. That’s where the Publican was.
So to recap…
Pharisees = church leader
Publican = scum of the earth
Now, I have been in church since I was a baby. I have witnessed this in church by those in leadership and those long time people who have attended forever and perceive themselves important in the church. Granted, they probably are important! There are those who serve over and over and do much to keep the church running and operating in a great way. Our family has been close with staff members over my lifetime and I’ve seen pride and I’ve seen servanthood and humbleness.
When Jesus makes a point, we should definitely pay attention. Jesus specifically singled out and chastised the Pharisees behavior over and over. In this case, He gave us some pretty precise specifics on what he didn’t like.
As church leaders or workers, we are no better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter if you are the pastor of a mega church of thousands or a custodian. In God’s eyes, we’re all the same and we have the same purpose. Inflating ourselves only decreases us in the eyes of God as does being critical or judgemental of those we think lesser than ourselves.
As Jesus taught and clearly showed us by example, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. God wants us to rely solely on Him for our worth and not on ourselves.
Looking at the same principle from a “least person” status, if you consider yourself not worthy of much for what you do at your church or for the Kingdom, know this.
God has an equal eye on you for what you’re doing. Lift up your chin because He loves you and values you for what you’re worth to Him because you serve Him with a willing heart. If you have a past? He loves you just as much as that mega pastor! While you may identify with the Publican in this story more, know that you are loved and noticed just like the Publican was as well.
We’re all the same in the eyes of God.
I am thankful Jesus used this parable to keep my humble…how about you?
*Which of these two men do you most identify with?
*Do you feel just as worthy as you perceive a person of greatness in your church is ?
Know that God loves you today!
Whatever your beliefs, we thank you for visiting our Christian blog.
What is the soil in the parable of the sower?
If you don’t get that one important point, than all four of the examples are pointless.Keep Reading here»
I really enjoyed writing about the Bible characters of the Christmas story of late and have been contemplating a new theme to take in my writing on Testify.
I’ve always been fascinated with Jesus’ method of teaching through parables. The word “parable” is a Greek word and literally means “a throwing alongside”. This means that Jesus “placed alongside” a meaning with an example…a word picture of sorts that would make it click in our minds more so than just preaching at us. Think of them as the crayon Jesus used to color a line between a real life circumstance, and a heavenly teaching. And sometimes, Jesus followed up with a question.
“What do you think Peter?”Keep Reading here»