I love this passage of scripture. The imagery is profound. Just for a moment, pause and envision this interaction. A Pharisee and a tax collector have gone to the Temple to pray. The tax collector has given thanks that he’s not like all the sinful people in the world, but then this sinful tax collector comes and repents of his ways. Jesus juxtaposes the two to show us what He’s truly after. He’s not impressed by how good we are. He’s impressed by our faith and dependence upon Him.
Jesus wraps up this parable by saying, “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14b, NLT)
Jesus isn’t looking for perfect people to join Him in His mission to restore a broken and dying world. He’s looking for humble people who accept and acknowledge that they’ve blown it, made mistakes, and missed the mark. He isn’t looking for powerful, strong people who beat their chest displaying that they have it all together. God’s looking for humble people beating their chests in sorrow acknowledging their great need for Jesus.
As Jesus told Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, NLT) Paul continues on, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10b, NLT)
May we live in that truth for the rest of our lives.
If you’re able, physically get on your knees and pray to the Father. Ask Him to renew in you a humble heart and give Him thanks for the good gifts He has given you.