Our Devotion for today is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
Luke 18:14 NRSV
HUMBLED AND EXALTED
Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector who were praying in the Temple. The Pharisee stood apart from other people whom he judged as being wicked, including this tax collector (see Luke 18:11). He then brashly exalted himself before God for all of his accomplishments. The tax collector, on the other hand, had nothing to boast about, nor could he hide from the truth of the Pharisee’s accusation. He stood at a far-off distance, humbled and ashamed, pleading, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13).
Only one of these two men went home justified, Jesus said – and that man was the humble and penitent tax collector. False faith that brags about our own merits will get us nowhere. Approval always rests in the hands of God. The humble recognize this and by faith stretch forth their open and empty hands. Our Lord not only fills our emptiness but exalts us with his grace.
The parable Jesus offers in Luke 18:9-14 is told in response to those who boast in their own righteousness, while looking with contempt upon others. Jesus underscores the importance of humility and accountability for the maturing person of faith. None of us are without spot or blemish. None of us get it right all the time. Which means none of us, no matter how long we have been in church nor how pious we may seem, is above Christ’s call to offer grace to others who struggle. We are all sinners, saved by the grace and love of God. We are all seeking to become the version of ourselves God envisions us to be, and we are all in need of grace, forgiveness, and encouragement. May we all take time this Lenten season to grow in humility and compassion, exalting our Savior who redeems us all.
Lord, may your mercy and love fill the emptiness of our lives and the lives of all the humble longing for your grace. Amen.