What does the parable of the pharisee and tax collector praying telling us about God's priorities in society or that of Jesus?
To me that means God cares more about service minded people then he does about proud people - no matter how noble or good their deeds are.
The question for God isn't "how much have you done to benefit God?"
But "how much have you done to benefit society."
The most sacred act you can perform is the act of saving another person's life or helping somebody who is on the verge of death. Nothing is more sacred than mercy in the physical world.
- Anonymous3 years agoFavorite Answer
I will agree with the 'spirit' of what I think you may be driving at here, but I will have to disagree with the actual conclusions.
Jesus gives us ultra-specific details about what genuine 'justice' actually is, (what the Bible call 'righteousness'). He doesn't lay out volumes of social planning guides, tell us what will 'benefit' society, or instruct us how to 'save everyone we can from dying younger than they planned.'
Instead, what Jesus provides is a 'golden focus.' By that I mean, if we can manage to stay focused on this one thing, our society will naturally make the decisions that GOD wants us to make and we will ALL experience justice. What is that focus?
Of course, Jesus wouldn't be telling us anything very instructive unless He was VERY specific in defining what 'the poor' means. Fortunately, He did tell us exactly who 'the poor' are and who they are not. 'The poor' are those who literally, 'crouch in fear,' (Greek: 'ptochos'). This means that they have no arrogance, no sense of entitlement, no 'big plans' for vengeance. When they come across wealth, it would never occur to them to buy anything but healthy food, clean water and covering for themselves and everyone else around them. They would never buy anything to make themselves 'feel better' while others go without basic dignities.
'The poor' are always hidden from us in society. They also tend to hide themselves out of fear and humility. The further away a society is from publicly seeing them and considering their plight, the more evil that society actually is. One of the main obstructions in society preventing us from reaching them with real help is a 'resource gobbling' segment of the population which Jesus calls the 'fools.' They too are 'impoverished' but for very different reasons:
'As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid,
So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly;
In the midst of his days it will forsake him,
And in the end he will be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11).
The parable Jesus gives to us here is about two men who match the above description. They are both 'fools,' only one has yet to realize it because he 'helps' keep the fools in business. When they both used to give to 'charity,' they did it to be seen by other people and they had 'help' from those with chronic 'wastefulness' as their lifestyle. These people keep needing because they keep wasting. Each time the 'Pharisee,' (and also the unrepentant tax-collector in his former days), gives to these people, he keeps the truly 'poor' from getting their basic dignities.
In the Lord's illustration, the tax-collector finally realized his great offenses and asked for GOD to forgive him. The Pharisee only saw this plea as weakness from a man he probably once respected. Saving someone from dying isn't always a 'blessing.' The same goes for saving limbs and eyes, (Matthew 18:8-9). The tax-collector 'died' to his own former self-identity, which is something Jesus tells us we each must also do at some point, (Luke 17:33).
What if the horrifying processes of physical death and illness or other 'weakness' is the only thing strong enough to break through the destruction of your soul and cause you to remember 'the poor?' Those who interfere in this process are NOT 'heroes.' They are what Jesus calls 'stumbling blocks.'
Ironically, Jesus calls Himself 'The Stumbling Block,' (Greek: 'skandalizo'), yet He is the only One to whom attempted and failed obedience still carries with it a promise of life and renewed hope. Obeying these other 'heroes' only destroys us and society. They will never return to a focus upon 'the poor.'
The most 'sacred act' you can perform is to search for these 'lost brothers' and rescue them from both government and criminal oppression. This requires offering your own body up, (arms, eyes and all), as a 'living sacrifice,' (Romans 12:1), knowing that you will have to get through the 'fools,' the government and criminals just to find them.
GOD does promise to go before us and protect us, but we cannot know exactly what it will 'cost' us---we also can't care. Jesus laid down His life for us and He expects the same from us.
- ?Lv 73 years ago
His priority is to have all saved and in Heaven with Him !!
- LesleyLv 63 years ago
God's priority (as Jesus clearly shows) is to denounce hypocrisy and to acknowledge we are sinners who must trust in God and not in their own righteousness or good deeds.
Jesus spoke this parable to those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others” (NKJV). Jesus spoke often of the issue of righteousness, pleading with His hearers to understand their utter inability to be righteous enough to attain the kingdom of heaven. This knowledge was essential if they were to understand His mission on earth, which was to save sinners—those who knew they could not save themselves.
The Pharisees, on the other hand, thought their own goodness was so impressive that it could not fail to make them acceptable to God. They held rigorously to the ceremonies and traditions of the law, making a public show of their religiosity, all to be seen by other men, many of whom they despised as being beneath them. The Pharisee in the story is the epitome of one who is self-justifying. Notice that his prayer has no elements of confession. He does not ask forgiveness for his sins, perhaps because he believes he has nothing to confess. Nor is there any word of praise or thanksgiving to God. His prayer is all about him. Even the thanks he does offer is designed to exalt himself and place himself above others whom he treats with disdain. Going to the temple to pray with the condition of his heart as it was, he might as well have stayed home. Such a “prayer” is not heard by God.
Unlike the Pharisee, who stands boldly in the temple reciting his prayers of self-congratulation, the tax collector stood “afar off” or “at a distance,” perhaps in an outer room, but certainly far from the Pharisee who would have been offended by the nearness of this man. Tax collectors, because of their association with the hated Romans, were seen as traitors to Israel and were loathed and treated as outcasts. This man’s posture spoke of his unworthiness before God. Unable to even lift his eyes to heaven, the burden of his guilt and shame weighed heavily upon him, and the load he carried had become unbearable. Overcome by his transgressions, he beats his breast in sorrow and repentance and appeals to God for mercy. The prayer he speaks is the very one God is waiting to hear, and his attitude is exactly what God wants from all who come to Him.
The tax collector exhibits precisely what Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Being poor in spirit means admitting we have nothing to offer to God to atone for our sin. We come to God as empty, impoverished, despised, bankrupt, pitiable, desperate beggars. The tax collector recognizes his sinful condition and seeks the only thing that can bridge the gap between himself and God. “Have mercy on me,” he cries, and we know from the end of the parable that God heard his prayer for mercy and answered it. Jesus tells us in verse 14 that the tax collector went away justified (made righteous) because he had humbled himself before God, confessing that no amount of works could save him from his sin and that only God’s mercy could.
If we are truly broken-hearted over our sin, we can be assured of God’s boundless love and forgiveness in Christ. He has promised in His word to accept us, love us, and make us alive again through His Son (Colossians 2:13). No amount of good works, church attendance, tithes, community service, loving our neighbor or anything else we do is sufficient to take away the blot of sin and enable us to stand before a holy God on our own. That is why God sent Jesus to die on the cross. His death is the only “work” that is able to cleanse us and make us acceptable to God.
- SlowsurferLv 53 years ago
Dear God,......If you want us to impeach Trump, give us a sign. Like, blot out the sun........Anytime in the next week would be fine... ..............Thanks,...Americans