One of the things I love best about Jesus is how tricky he is.
Jesus is a sneaky, tricky person!
How do I know that?
Well, he’s laid a trap for us in this gospel parable, and ten bucks say every last one of us fell right into it.
Let me explain.
So we begin with the tax collector and the Pharisee.
This is not a subtle parable; we know whose side we’re supposed to be on.
In fact, Jesus tips his hand with the opening explanation from Luke: “Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt.”
Uh-oh. That doesn’t sound good. I hope I don’t end up in that group.
And the Pharisee prays, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.”
“What a dirtbag!” we think. “Seriously, does anyone pray like that? Thank God I’m not that arrogant! Thank you, God, that I am not a self-righteous jerk like this Pharisee! Thank you that I know that I am an unrighteous sinner like the tax collector. Thank you for making me more humble than anyone else!”
Oh. Wait a minute.
I think I just accidentally prayed a prayer identical to the Pharisee’s.
Jesus, you got me!
I fell right into the trap! Continue reading