Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
On the Journey: Learning from the Red Sox
When are we entitled to hold other people in contempt? To reject them and scorn them?
According to Luke, Jesus told today’s parable “to some who trusted in themselves...and regarded others with contempt.”
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the small Latin America country of Honduras. Cascades of torrential rain caused massive landslides, destroying thousands of small homes built precariously on mountainous hillsides. A year and a half later, members of King’s Chapel traveled there with Habitat for Humanity to build new homes. They stayed in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, and each day drove out a twisting mountain road to the build site.
One of those who went was Brooke Chandler, the daughter of our member Fay Larkin, and step-daughter of Miguel Gomez-Ibanez. Brooke, then a teenager, wrote this, which her aunt, Julie Hyde, shared with me this week:
“Along the road we drove each day to the work site,” wrote Brooke, “a cliff reaching high above us [was] on our left, and a clear drop fell off to our right. We could see pieces of houses hanging on to cliffs. The houses that had slid down [in the hurricane] still filled up the sides of mountains, splattered with the colors of clothes and trash. Everything in the houses was left as it had fallen, including the people, a year and a half later!....There [had been] no resources available to make it possible to get to [the people], and no proper medical care even if someone [had been] still alive in the rubble.”
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’