(9-14) The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Our good deeds don’t impress God. The Bible says all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Boasting about how much we tithe, how many times we pray, or what we do for the poor, does not raise our status in God’s eyes. Our boldness in coming before His throne should be accompanied by humility.
(18-23) The Rich Ruler
God will often ask us to part with the things that mean the most to us or with the people we love the most to see if we are really serious about following Him. In the Old Testament, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only, much-loved son, Isaac, who he had waited so long to have. When Abraham prepared his son for the sacrifice without hesitation it proved his loyalty, obedience, and faithfulness to God. His unquestioning actions showed that God’s commands mattered most to him, and that he loved God more than he loved his son or anyone else. As a result, God provided a ram in the bush and Isaac was spared.
The sadness of this rich ruler, however, when Christ told him to sell all that he had showed that he was not truly sincere in his quest to follow God and inherit eternal life. He loved his material wealth more than he loved the Savior. Keeping his riches were more important to him than keeping the commands of Christ.
Favorite verse: (16) But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.