“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable”
I am sure those who had been with Jesus for a while had a hint of what was about to come. Jesus knew how to nail the real issues. Jesus knows that there is a such a thing as false confidence. It is not about what we do that gets us right with God. We need to come to Him with the awareness deep in our soul that there is nothing we have done to receive His gift of an absolutely pure relationship with God. We have missed the mark but Jesus didn’t. And those who are relying on good deeds will look down on others. Double whammy here.
Being religious is of no advantage. Looking down at others is useless. There is only one way to God. Jesus challenges us to see the way.
God is very good. Jesus came with good news. His gift to us that allows us to be friends with God is overwhelming.
Here is the rest of the story:
He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”