What if you were to walk into an operating room, volunteer your services in performing a surgery and announce that you are without a medical degree let alone any experience with a surgeon’s knife? What if you went before a judge claiming to be a lawyer without the credentials to prove it? There is a high probability that in both cases you would be dismissed and potentially arrested. What would make matters worse is if you claimed to have the credentials when in fact you did not.
This is partly what is going on in this parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18. There are two men, one claiming to be righteous and the other knowing himself to be a sinner. You would think that in order to come to God who is a holy and just God we would need to come with the right credentials so that we could approach him. In an ironic twist of the parable it is actually the man who claims to be a sinner who leaves justified rather than the man claiming his own righteousness.
This illustrates for us an important component of prayer if not the most important. We come to our Lord on the behalf of someone else and in this we recognize that we could never come to God on our own merit. This does two things to us. The first is that it utterly humbles us. We realize who we are before a mighty, holy and powerful creator of the universe. The second thing that it does is that it gives us the utmost confidence that our Father in heaven hears us when we pray because we come to him on the merit of Christ who was the perfect person in his life, death and resurrection. Therefore we know that God will always hear and care for us because of what Christ has done. I have really enjoyed this brief series on prayer and what better time of the year to end it than right after Christmas. Christmas is a time when we are reminded that our Lord humbled himself and came to earth as a man living among us so that he could save us and it is through this we have access to our Father in heaven.
Scripture: Luke 18:9-14
Sermon: You Won’t Pray Unless…