We are slow learners and quick to forget. The inclinations of our sinful nature are not erased overnight. So, it shouldn’t surprise us when we find Jesus returning to the same themes and making the same points again and again.
In the parable we’ll consider this Sunday, Jesus warns the self-righteous and reiterates truths we’ve heard before. Like Luke 5:31–32, when he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” He will literally repeat what he said in Luke 18:14 word for word, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
He’s got another parable for those of us who think we are well and need no physician. It’s a story of two men who come to the temple to pray. Only one truly prays and only one goes home justified in God’s sight. (Spoiler: it’s not the one who thought he was well.) It was the one whose prayer reflected the desperate cry for God’s mercy of this hymn.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
This Sunday Kenny Clark will be preaching Luke 18:9-14 and Walt Harrah will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? And let’s ask God to make that prayer our prayer, to strip us of all our self-righteous and self-justifying tendencies and to humble us before the Great Physician who alone can make us well.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
SONG OF THE WEEK
Rock of Ages by the Worship Initiative
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and thou alone.