Sermon- Who Is In The Driver's Seat?, Luke 18:13 sermons -- Sunday Sermons preaching resources

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Who Is In The Driver's Seat?

God, be merciful to me a sinner
Luke 18:9-14

Sermon Topic Humility

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 18:13


It has been said that the Cause of humanity has suffered much at the hands of people who do what they think God would do if only He knew the facts in the case. In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus tells the story of two men, one of whom is in the act of praising himself as he thinks God would praise him if only He knew the facts in the case. And since he is in the Temple, he finds it convenient to let God in on the facts. "I am not like other men," he tells God. "I am not an extortioner. I am not unjust. I am not an adulterer. I am not like that sinner standing over there. I give my fair share to the Temple. And I am obedient to all the religious laws." He sounds almost like he's asking God, "Now what more could you possibly want?"

The second man in Jesus' story is also in the Temple. He bows his head and, unlike the first man, does not presume to let God in on the facts of his life or anyone else's. Instead he offers a simple prayer in which he acknowledges that God already knows the facts in his case. "God," he prays, "be merciful to me a sinner" (Lk. 18:13).

Jesus' own commentary on the story, is short and unmistakably clear. The first man -- the man who presented God with a laundry

list of all his virtues -- compared himself favorably to the second man who acknowledged his own sinfulness. Jesus reverses that judgment. The self-accused sinner, Jesus says, "went down to his house justified rather than the other." Then this little postscript: "For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Lk. 18:14-15).

What does this parable say to us? Remember the story of Adam and Eve? In the Book of Genesis we are given the facts in their case. We are told that Adam and Eve could have fulfilled God's dream for the human race. Adam and Eve had a chance [...]

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