Connected to Humility through Christ - 18 April 2018

Louise Gevers

“Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else.” Luke 18:9 GNT

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Romans 4:9

The most surprising question that Jesus once asked a Jewish leader was, “Why do you call me good?” What an amazing question coming from the only one God considered worthy to die for the sins of the world! Of course, Jesus might have known that the man had intended flattery or irony, but He went on to say, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) When we reflect on the person of Jesus, we realise that He was God and yet He, “… made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant … he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8) An astounding example for us of true humility!

Many people didn’t believe Jesus then, and many don’t believe Him now, yet often people really believe that deep down they are good and, in fact, are often even better than others in life and deserve recognition for it. In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Jesus is aware that both men are sinners and both are in need of redemption, even though outwardly the man of God may appear to be more respectable than the tax collector, who would have been regarded as a crook.

In the course of praying, however, each man reveals the true condition of his heart. The Pharisee doesn’t have his own sin to confess but lists the sins of others, thanks God that he’s not like them, and then goes on to list his qualities. The tax collector, on the other hand, is ashamed of his sins and looks down as he beats his breast, pleading with God to have mercy on him.  Jesus’ conclusion was that, “… the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.” (Luke 18:14)

Jesus treats everyone equally; He knows that we are all sinners and we have the same needs within us. Outward respectability means nothing if our hearts are proud and we look down on others and treat them as outcasts, forgetting that we too are sinful and guilty by God’s standards. If we have a humble heart like the tax collector, we will recognise our own shame, confess our sins and ask God to have mercy on us, and then walk away with a light heart and sins forgiven, ready to serve Him.

Prayer: Lord God, Thank You that You alone are good and remove our confusion. Please change my heart and my thinking to see that I can never be good, no matter how hard I try, nor will I ever be able to make myself great, yet in humility and confession I will find forgiveness in Your mercy and joy in Your Presence. In Jesus’ Name I ask this. Amen

Go to top