Text: Luke 18:9-17 (KJV)
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Key Verse: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – (Luke 18:13)
Self-righteousness is a false feeling of one’s moral state or spiritual quality. It is often derived from a sense that one’s belief or affiliation is better than others. A self-righteous person always rates himself or herself above other people. This description aptly captures the character of the Sadducees and Pharisees, who according to the Scriptures were self-righteous and self-deceitful.
Today, our text narrates a parable Christ shared about a self-righteous Pharisees and the tax collector who were praying in the Temple. The prayer of the tax collector reveals he sought God humbly. He realised his evil ways and genuinely sought God’s forgiveness and mercy. It equally shows the prayer of the Pharisee, who considered himself righteous. Rather than praying for mercy, he gave reasons God should answer his prayers. In our dealings, we should never flaunt the achievements we have attained in life. Rather, we should give God all the glory and always approach Him with a humble heart.
The text equally dwells on a practice among women in Israel. In line with the practice, women would bring their children to the priests for blessing and prayers. But the disciples of Jesus Christ never saw reasons they should bring their children to Christ. Perhaps, they thought Christ our Lord should be so concerned with matters of more importance than attending to little children. To their surprise, however, Jesus Christ welcomed and blessed the little children. As parents, we should cultivate the habit of bringing our children to Christ at an early age.
God demands a humble and childlike spirit and mind when we come to Him in prayer. Our character is crucial to the way we worship Him. If He will accept our services, we must at all cost purge ourselves of all forms of pride and self-righteousness.
Thought For The Day: Oh Lord! Wash me of any atom of pride.
DCLM Daily Manna was written by Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi; is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church situated at KM 42 on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria.