GOSPEL MEDITATION # 7
This Generation & The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Matthew 11:16-19 & Luke 18:9-14
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- Matthew 11:16-19 may or may not be genuine parable but some do, and those who do designate it “This Generation.”
- It has to do with a children’s game of imitation a wedding event and a funeral. The traditional wedding music is played and a funeral dirge is sung but there is not dancing or mourning.
- Jesus is referring to John the Baptist who came point to Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus revealed who He was yet both messages were ignored and rejected. Jesus’ conclusion is, “wisdom is justified by her deeds” a phrase variously understood, but likely means that the future would reveal the truth.
- A tax collector, or publican, was a Jew who collected taxes for the Romans and demanded more than required and pocketed that. These were highly despised. The Pharisee, regular in this prayers, fastings (Mondays and Thursdays), and tithing. Oddly, many a Pharisee was despised by the people as well. In the parable, both arrive at the same time at the temple.
- “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” is the prayer of the tax collector. The contrast could not be greater. One depends on good deeds the other, having none, pleads for mercy.
- The crowd listening to the parable would have been shocked to hear of a tax collector being declared justified, meaning his sin in total was erased and forgiven. Jesus turns the parable to be a lesson on humility. The tax collector’s prayer became the oldest prayer in church history.