Into the Light

Read: Luke 18:9-14
The tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

One of the hardest things about getting ready in the morning is picking out my socks. Are they blue or black? Because I’m color-blind, those two colors look the same to me in the dim morning light! So what I typically do is take them out into the kitchen and compare them under some bright lightbulbs, which helps me see their true colors.

Jesus once told a crowd of people at the Jewish temple that He was “the light of the world” (John 8:12). He went on to say, “If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Jesus’ “light” metaphor makes me think of another story He told. “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector” (Luke 18:10).

The Pharisee was a conceited moralist who proudly flaunted that he had his act together. His prayer was long-winded and self-congratulatory: “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!” (Luke 18:11).

The tax collector was messed up—and knew it. His prayer was short, sorrowful, and desperate: “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Jesus concluded that the humble tax collector, not the proud Pharisee, walked away forgiven. “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).

Jesus is indeed the true “light of the world.” But He doesn’t require us to clean up the messes in our lives before we walk into His life-giving light. Instead, He simply invites us to walk humbly into His light and begin a sacred, sanctified life in Him.

Taken from “Our Daily Journey”