In this episode of Witnessing Christ from the New Testament, Mark and Molly discuss Matthew 19–20, Mark 10, and Luke 18.
This podcast episode covers the following:
- Luke 18:9–14, Mark 10:17–34, Mark 46–52, and Matthew 20:1–16
- The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
- The Rich and the Kingdom of God
- Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
- Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
- The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
Key concepts in this episode include:
- What does it take to “inherit” eternal life?
- Why did the young man go away sad?
- What leads someone to cry out, “Lord have mercy”?
- What was the difference between the prayers of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector?
- How does God’s grace challenge and confront our ideas of justice and fairness?
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Share the Truth in Love
Share this conversation starter with your LDS friend:
In Luke 18:9–14, Jesus shares a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee boasted about his righteousness, while the tax collector humbly begged for mercy. The Greek word the tax collector used to ask for mercy is strikingly significant.
The tax collector’s plea for mercy was expressed with the word “hilasterion” in Greek. This word can be translated as “propitiation” or “atonement.” It refers to the covering or removal of sin, the restoration of a broken relationship, and the satisfaction of divine justice. Additionally, it’s the word used in Greek to describe the “mercy seat” on the Ark of the Covenant.
The tax collector’s use of the word “hilasterion” shows that he recognized the gravity of his sin and the need for divine intervention to make things right. He knew that he could not save himself or earn his way back into God’s favor. He needed God’s mercy and forgiveness, which could only come through an atoning sacrifice.
In contrast, the Pharisee did not recognize his own sinfulness and need for a savior. He thought his good deeds and religious practices made him righteous before God. He was too proud to ask for mercy or acknowledge his need for atonement.
The tax collector’s plea for mercy teaches us to approach God with humility and a sincere desire for atonement. It reminds us that we all fall short of God’s standards and need his forgiveness. It also points us to Jesus Christ, the ultimate atoning sacrifice for our sins. May we come to God with humility and a desire for forgiveness, trusting in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ to cleanse us of our sins and restore our relationship with God.