But the tax collector standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luke 18:13 (ESV)
She was a tiny woman from a small, rural Alaskan village gathering with others to attend a meeting focused on the challenges of the shrinking churches in their communities. One of the facilitators asked her if she would lead in prayer or read one of the Scripture verses as they started their day. She lowered her head and said, “I know that God has saved me, but I have been such a sinner in my past, I do not feel worthy to speak His words in public.”
How tragic it is when the Word of God is not taught correctly! How natural it is that we gravitate to living under the law when the sole purpose of Jesus' birth was to bring us His grace. Talking to the Pharisees Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). And the apostle Paul reassures us in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Yes, we live with the consequences of our sin, but our Heavenly Father sent His Son to give us hope for forgiveness and eternal life. Who can now have hope? Who can be saved? The tax collector, the prostitute, the drug addict, the compulsive liar, the mentally ill. ALL of us!
Father, thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, into our world of darkness to light our path and to give us hope in this world and the one to come. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.