Summary: Jesus loves the lowly, broken, and sinful. A special sermon contribution from the SON OF GOD sermon packet for pastors, inspired by the SON OF GOD movie from Mark Burnett and distributed by 20th Century Fox.
I’d like to take a short quiz here today. Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers. I’d just like to poll this group to see who had childhoods like mine.
For example, by a show of hands, how many of us here have actually cried over spilled milk? Some of us are too old to remember, I’m sure …
How many hid your vegetables or gave them to the dog rather than cleaning your plate?
How many remember blaming a brother or sister for things you did… and getting away with it?
How many recall reading in bed with a flashlight?
How many put Jell-O in the fishbowl just to see what would happen?
How many put fish in the Jell-O bowl?
Okay, maybe that last one was just me.
I’m pretty sure we all misbehaved as children. And some of us just never got out of the habit.
But do you remember what it was like when you had done something wrong, and you had to face your mother or father, or teacher or pastor? Do you remember how that felt? How you expected judgment; how you knew you deserved to be punished; how anticipating someone’s disapproval was as bad or worse than anything they could do to you?
It’s natural to feel that way. It’s a very human response—a guilt reflex.
However, very often it becomes more than that. Our guilt festers and grows, and sometimes leads to shame, where we not only know we’ve done a bad thing, we end up thinking we are bad.
And sometimes we make adjustments to that feeling or that suspicion. We learn to accept it. We live with it. And it drags us down. It poisons our minds. It shrivels our souls.
Until someone comes along … and surprises us… and awakens something in us—something we didn’t know was there.
PLAY video clip from The Son of God, “The Calling of Matthew/Publican and Pharisee.”
We continue today a series of messages and worship experiences called “Who Do You Say I Am?” based on a movie called Son of God, a dramatic portrayal of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as His message and mission.
Each week we will be watching the depiction of a Bible passage as the creators of the Son of God movie rendered it, and then we will go to our Bibles to study and apply that part of Jesus’ story to our lives today.
Today we are going to look more closely at the parable of Jesus depicted in that video clip.
It is called “The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector,” and it is found in Luke 18, verses 9 through 14.
I invite you to turn there in your Bibles as I suggest to you another answer to the question, “Who do you say Jesus is?”
Last week in our study we saw Jesus revealed as “the Son of Man,” a messianic title that also refers to the fact that He identifies with us in our humanity. He gets it. He is as approachable as He is authoritative and amazing.
And this week, we see another facet, another answer, and that is this— He is:
The Sinner’s Friend
In His life and ministry, Jesus showed a startling—even scandalous—affection for the broken, the lowly, the sinful, and the struggling.
One of the most common accusations hurled at Jesus was this:
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” —Luke 15:2, NIV
You see, in those days, in that culture, to share a meal with someone was considered a big deal. Even today, someone in that culture will share a cup of coffee with you, but to invite you to dinner is an act of trust, respect, and friendship.
So when Jesus broke bread with people like Matthew and Zacchaeus, He was extending friendship to them… to such a degree that His critics said:
“Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” —Luke 7:34b, NIV
He caused a scandal by making Matthew—a tax collector—one of His first and closest disciples.
He showed mercy to a woman who had been caught in the very act of committing adultery!
He even told this striking story of two men who went to the Temple to pray.
Let’s look at it together in Luke 18:9–14:
“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”’