JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines the parable of a Pharisee and tax collector.
In Luke 18, Jesus told this story to some people who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like the other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
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.” Jesus said that this man rather than the Pharisee, went home justified before God.
A daily connection with Christ takes us to a humble place of recognizing our need for God’s mercy every single day.
JOHN SHIRK – A defense attorney represents someone facing a lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
In the courtroom of heaven, God is the judge, and Satan is the prosecuting attorney. He is our accuser. He makes a compelling case for our guilt, as he recites the list of sins that we have committed in our lifetime. But then another voice comes forward to defend us. Jesus makes the case for our innocence, not by denying we did those things, but by acknowledging the shedding of His blood to cover our sins. This is what it’s like for the person who confesses their need for Jesus to save them from their sin.
First John 2:1 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The redemption of Jesus as a defense attorney in a courtroom is a lesson of faith worth remembering.