God's Righteousness: Week 2 - Devotion 1

“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.’” -  Luke 18:13

One of the constant themes in Jesus’ ministry is His dislike (and that’s putting it mildly) for people who thought they were so spiritual that God thought they were better and more righteous than anyone else. In fact, Jesus was far gentler towards prostitutes, thieves, and partiers than He was towards religious leaders who thought they were God’s favorite.

With that in mind, grab your Bible and your journal. Spend a few minutes reading Luke 18:9-14 twice. Then, answer these questions in your journal or note-taking app:

  • Who are the people Jesus is telling this story to?

  • If you had to retell this story to a friend using characters familiar to our culture, how would you tell it?

  • The Pharisee probably did a much better job following the rules than the tax collector. So why did the tax collector go home justified (declared righteous) before God?

  • List at least three ways you are like the Pharisee in the story. Then, list at least three ways you are like the tax collector. Which one do you feel like you most resemble? Why?


Now, finish by simply repeating the prayer of the tax collector from the story: God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Emily Traylor