READ LUKE 18
Earlier in the book of Luke, Jesus teaches His disciples to pray by giving the words of His own prayer. In Luke 18 He talks about the sincerity of our prayers when He gives the example of the Pharisee and Publican. The Publican comes humbly before His God and lays out his thanksgiving, praise and petitions, relying on the blood of God’s mercy. The Pharisee takes credit for his own good deeds and sets himself above the Publican because of it.
Prayers come out of suffering or need, but we can’t approach God by bragging about what we’ve done to deserve an answer. Our salvation is not based on our merit, for if it was, we’d all be doomed to an eternity in hell. Therefore we call on Jesus and His atoning sacrifice which covers us with salvation.
He uses an example of the faith of little children. We should believe as they do, without question. A childlike faith has no strings attached. It is completely dependent on God. That trust in the Word of God as truth will not fail us.
As Jesus continues His ministry, He has more parables for the people. The unjust judge, the rich young ruler and the story of the Pharisee and Publican. He heals a blind man as they near Jericho. He speaks about true discipleship and being willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. His reference to the rich man is too much for the man. His wealth has become more important to him.
Luke 18:24-25 “Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
The crowds are growing. Jesus knows His time on earth is coming to a close. He speaks again of His coming suffering and death, that these things must happen for the purpose of fulfilling God’s plan for our redemption. He would die so we could live forever in paradise along with Him. He spoke the truth as He told them he would be turned over to the Gentiles, flogged, spat upon, treated shamefully and killed. He also spoke of His resurrection, but the disciples didn’t understand a word of it. Their minds were clouded and they couldn’t grasp it at all.
Dear, Lord, give me the faith of a child to accept the wonderful truth of your mission here on earth. You overcame death and rose again so we could be washed clean of our sins. Help me to share that wonderful news with others and give them the same peace and joy we receive during this Advent time. Come again quickly, Jesus. AMEN!