By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal Passage: Luke 18:9-17
James reminds us that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This is a story of two very different men who come before God in prayer. Those listening would immediately recognize the characters, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Pharisees were respected with tax collectors being despised in Jewish society. The tax collector prays with humility, knowing that he is a wretched sinner desperate for mercy and hopeless without grace. He would not even look up but cries out to God for mercy.
The Pharisee stands alone and boasts before God and man the wonders of his own greatness. He was using public prayer as a brag sheet to make sure everyone knew how spiritual he was, though he wasn’t at all. He boasts of all the great things he has done for God and is even praising God that he is better than so many others, even the tax collector. Of the two, it is surprising which one truly understood prayer. [Read more…]