Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Two Worshippers

The Bible is filled with stories about the display of pride and the attitude found among many believers. The story about the two worshipers is one of my all time favorite because it allows all to see that God is no respecter of persons therefore it does not matter if you are religious or not in God’s eye there is a wrong action and there is a right action and it does not matter who you are.

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"Unto the self righteous this parable was given. To all those who despised others, and esteemed themselves above others Christ addressed with this parable, his intention was to address their pathetic condition. This one was called, “The two worshippers,” one a Pharisee and the other a Publican.
 Luke 17: 9 - 14. "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: "God I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Here we saw the Pharisee going up to the temple to worship, not because he feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks himself righteous and hopes to win commendation from God and man. We need to be careful of our actions when we enter the house of God, and more importantly more careful of how we see other worshipers. As the Pharisee went into the temple to worship he assumes that his worship was as an act of merit that will bring him commendation from both God and Men his action purely motivated by self-interest. 

It is ironic that one can become so self absorbed that he thinks that he can impress God. Today we see the same attitude being exhibited by many who call themselves Christians, who seem to think they are so much better than others because they are not like them, even now you can hear the echo, “I am not like them, and I do not commit adultery I do not steal, I fast several times a week I am not like them.”

The problem with this kind of worshiper is that he measures himself by the standard of man, had he measured himself against the Maker of the universe he would realize that his righteousness was as a filthy rag. How often we find many are kept away from attending church because they feel unworthy to worship with the other worshipers.

Meanwhile we observed the Publican, he had gone to the temple with other worshipers, but he soon drew apart from them as he felt unworthy to unite in their devotions. As he stood afar off, he "would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,  in bitter distress and self-disgust, He felt his unworthiness; as he measured himself  against God, he saw his sinfulness. He expected no pity from those around him, for he knew he had done wrong.  Recognizing he was not worthy to stand in God’s presence in utter self-despair he cried, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." He did not compare himself with others as his sole interest was in seeking forgiveness from God.

What a contrast between the two worshipers! Here is depicted the two great classes into which those who come to worship God are divided. What was Jesus reaction to these two? The self righteous Pharisee got no commendation although he expected it, while the Publican got commendations although he did not expect it.

What lessons must we draw from this parable? God knows our heart and he that worship God must do so in spirit and in truth, not in hypocrisy and self- exaltation, recognizing that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Let none think he is better than another. There is nothing as offensive to God as pride and self sufficiency. 


photo credit: <a href="">VinothChandar</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>  

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