Two studies on Mercy
The widow and the unjust Judge
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' 4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' " 6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. Luke 18
V1 - What did Jesus want His disciples to know? (that they should always pray and not give up.)
V2 - What was the character of the judge like? Is God like that? (Not at all.)
V3 - Who kept coming to the judge? Do you think she had a husband to help her out? (No) What did the widow keep on doing?
V4-5 - What was the judge's reaction to the widow?
V6-8 - What does Jesus, the Lord, tell us about God, the Supreme Judge? Is God just and fair? What should we do when speaking to the Lord? (cry out day and night.) What will be God's response? (quick justice - but in God's time scale.)
The two men in the temple
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The 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. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
13"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.'
14"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." Luke 18
I would rather be humbled by repentance than by judgement. CB
V9 - To whom was Jesus telling this parable? (To people who thought they were good enough as they were, and did not think other people were as good as they were.)
V10- Who were the two men? What were their jobs? (Pharisee was a religious man who knew all of God's Laws. The tax collector was a regular man who collected taxes for the Roman empire. Tax collectors usually asked for more money than the government required, and kept the extra for themselves.
V11-12 - What did the Pharisee talk about to God? (Himself and how good he thought he was and why, and how bad the tax collector was.) What was the focus of His prayer? (His own self good-ness, not God's character and His need for God) What kind of a relationship did He have with God? Was it based more on his own works, or on what God does?
V13 - What did the tax collector do? Why do you think He did not look up to heaven? (Heaven is where God's throne is, and He did not feel worthy to even gaze up to God.) What did he say? What does that mean? ("Have mercy" means give me pardon for my wrongs, even though I deserve nothing from you. "on me a sinner" is a confession for what he has done against the will of God. The tax collector saw himself through God's eyes, rightly. He saw himself as someone who is not nearly as good as God, and asked for pardon in His Holy Temple. The Pharisee saw himself through men's eyes, which are clouded with selfishness, pride and sin. He saw himself wrongly. While his gaze might go heavenward, his eyes were blind to his own spiritual condition and to the holiness of God.
God tells us,
I would rather be humbled through repentance than humbled by God's judgement. CSB
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