The Storyteller: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector day 4
Make an Atonement for Me
And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart. Mark 3: 4,5 ESV
The Pharisees lived by a strict adherence to the traditional and written law. In following the letter of the law, they sometimes failed to recognize the spirit of the law. This was evident when they condemned Jesus for healing sick people on the Sabbath day.
In this week’s parable, Jesus points out the flaw of the Pharisee trusting his own self-righteousness. He may have fasted and tithed correctly, but he chose not to humble himself before God and ask forgiveness for his sins. In fact, he did not ask for forgiveness as he strongly believed he had not sinned. Contrast this behavior with the tax collector, who totally humbled himself before God recognizing that he is unfit to look up to heaven. He put his faith in the grace of God. He completely relied on God desire to cleanse his sins.
This parable is an important lesson. In front of God, no one is perfect, yet the fullness of God's mercies makes atonement available to all. Use the Tax Collector’s prayer, “God, make an atonement for me, a sinner.” Pray fervently to God seeking humility.
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