“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable”
I am sure those who had been with Jesus for a while had a hint of what was about to come. Jesus knew how to nail the real issues. Jesus knows that there is a such a thing as false confidence. It is not about what we do that gets us right with God. We need to come to Him with the awareness deep in our soul that there is nothing we have done to receive His gift of an absolutely pure relationship with God. We have missed the mark but Jesus didn’t. And those who are relying on good deeds will look down on others. Double whammy here.
Being religious is of no advantage. Looking down at others is useless. There is only one way to God. Jesus challenges us to see the way.
God is very good. Jesus came with good news. His gift to us that allows us to be friends with God is overwhelming.
Here is the rest of the story:
‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Minister (Pharisee) and the other a tax collector. 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. 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 all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ Luke 18:9-14
When God makes a promise, He is true to His word. His Spirit gives power to the word and it comes to pass. It brings peace into our life. Simeon could have done something else about the time Jesus parent’s brought Jesus to the temple. There were lots of choices for him I bet. In fact, he probably had other plans. But the Spirit was on him and led him.
May I listen to God and not worry about my plans so much.
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.
When it was time to give birth to Jesus, no one had room for Him. So Mary did what she had to do. Humbling circumstances for the King of Kings don’t you think? But that is who Jesus is.
Jesus humbled Himself for our sakes. To redeem us from continually missing God’s goal for our lives, he came to earth as a man, born into circumstances beyond His control.
God wants to know, do we have room for His son? Yes, dear Father, we do.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. ~~Luke 2:6-7
The sheepherders were minding their own business. Just doing what they do after a long day of work. They were settling in for the evening. But God had different plans for them. He was about to show up and it was sudden. That is the way God is some days. We’re settling in for the evening and BAM, he arrives on the scene. Are we terrified like the sheepherders?
Have we seen God’s glory? Have we heard the good news from the Angels? Are we ready to meet this Savior?
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep.
Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12 The Message)
There are experts galore. No lack of those who “officially” know all the rules and regulations. When Jesus asked the question, He got an answer from an expert. So … what is it that God desires from us? Who showed love to his neighbor? The one who showed mercy.
That is what we should do. That is what I should do. This is how we love our neighbors. Have mercy. Be merciful. Show mercy in every way!!! Simple.
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
- Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
- Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
- Luke 6:37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
- Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
- Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
- 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
- James 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
- James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?