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Luke 18:9-14 - Sunday Scripture Reflection

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

On this Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, we will hear Jesus tell the familiar parable story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The parable story is meant to highlight the need for prayer, but not just "prayer for prayer's sake" or "prayer to make us feel special/important" but a faithfulness that brings us before God, emptied of all our personal pride, desires, and expectations. The Pharisee is a good and faithful man...except, he knows this to be true and is quite impressed with his piety. The tax collector is a bit too involved in worldly things...and he knows this to be true and is quite humble and repentant. We will discuss how Jesus' story invites us to reflect on humility, prayer, and a faithful life.

Our Scripture passage is found in the Gospel according to Luke. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Luke 18:9-14).

For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):

  • Read the assigned Scripture for the week and reflect on your understanding of the characteristics of faithful people. What are the differences between the two men in Jesus' parable story, and how do these differences impact their lives of faith and prayer. Reflect on the idea of being proud: is it always wrong to be proud? And, if not, when do you think it might be OK to be proud?

  • Read the "WHAT..." paragraph in the guide below, and reflect on how the author of Luke's Gospel account is making a connection between someone's piety (their faith and prayer life) and their ethics (how the make decisions and live their life).

  • Read the "WHERE..." paragraph below, reflecting especially on the belief that people are connected to God in relationship by one's faith in the love and grace of God, rather than anything they have done to merit favor from God. Do you believe God's love and grace is the most significant part of your relationship with God, or are there other aspects that are more significant?

  • Read the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below and reflect on the author's comment that Jesus taught that we should not trust in our own ability to follow the law perfectly, yet we also must not forgot the law of God. How do you balance these two teachings?

  • Read the "NOW WHAT..." paragraph below, and reflect especially on the life of the tax collector. This man humbled himself before God, acknowledging his sins and his unworthiness before God, which helped him to receive forgiveness. What are your thoughts about this man if we wakes up the next morning, and continued to use his position as a tax collector to unfairly take advantage of people. How would you consider his humble plea to God, in light of his continued "bad behavior."

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