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The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14

Updated: May 6

9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Either you are too good, too smart, too righteous. Or you are not worthy, not good, and/or not good enough. I don’t know about you but I have been on both ends of the spectrum, sometimes at the same time. I remember playing basketball when I was around 10 years of age. I was at the peak of all 10 year olds around me. I could not be beat. I was the best of the best. And this kid came and wanted to play with my team. He came to the court during downtime and took a few shots. He missed all of them and then came right up to me to ask if he could play on my squad. I completely rejected this poor soul. I turned right around to him and said, “You think you can play on my team? You’re trash.” Picked up the ball he was dribbling and kicked across the park. I felt so high and mighty, so powerful and big. So a couple games pass by and in comes this other child who was wearing the best of the best basketball attire. Cool sneakers, headband to match, and the best outdoor basketball one could use. He joins in the next game and man he was incredible! He could shoot, dribble, and pass, I mean the kid could do it all. Lo and behold he beat my team again, and again, and again. I go sit on the bench where my water bottle is, and next to my water bottle is the kid I had just bullied. He looks down, picks up my water bottle, hands it to me and says, “And I thought I was trash.” What a wake up call at 10 years old! Two lessons I learned that day. One, never put someone else down because of what you are perceiving them to be or not to be (cause honestly you might be in that same situation in a matter of seconds). And two, you are never as good as you think you are, and you are never as bad as you think you are. But it never feels like that does it? You end up feeling like the pharisee, or the tax collector. Too good, or not enough. But Jesus tells us something amazing at the end of this parable, he says, “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” You see Jesus puts us right where we belong. Jesus is our equilibrium. This sabbath I will be talking about the greatest conversion story of all-time, and how a man went from being a bully to being the one on the bench. How did this happen?… Jesus. Connected to the Vine. Pastor Victor

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