What I read: Luke 18
Observations: Last night in our Starting Point group we had some discussion about the disciples and whether or not Jesus had told them about his death and resurrection ahead of time. I was noticing again that, according to Luke, he plainly told them what was going to happen, but they just didn’t understand it. I think they can be forgiven for not understanding it, of course, since they had never seen anything like this before. It seems like it was so often the case that before the resurrection much of what Jesus said to them even in the parables didn’t make sense, but after the resurrection everything finally clicked into place.
Application: The second parable in the chapter is convicting. When I pray I sometimes unconsciously slip back into believing that God would or should hear me based on what I’ve done to deserve it. But Jesus says that the man who prays based on his own righteousness is essentially wasting his breath. The one who prays in true humility and in genuine desire for mercy from God is the one that God hears and responds to. He ends the parable with one of his classic aphorisms: the one who lifts himself up will be brought down, the one who brings himself down will be lifted up. It’s so opposite of the way our world works, but it’s exactly the way God seems to delight in working in prayer and in the rest of our lives.
Prayer: Father, I’m not sure I could or should come up with a better, or simpler prayer than the tax collector prayed: God, be merciful to me, a sinner!