In the name of God ☩ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Trust in God and don’t be a jerk.” Isn’t that what the parable that Jesus tells about the Pharisee and tax collector says? While trusting in God and being nice to other people are both good life lessons, if that’s all we take away from this parable then Jesus is little more than a Middle-Eastern version of Aesop. Jesus’ teachings were radical and led to those around him wanting to kill him; and a fable with the moral of the story being “trust in God and be nice” isn’t radical and certainly isn’t a capital offense. The parables though are subversive and surprising stories about how God’s ways our not our ways, and the reversal of the tax collector being justified is such a surprising twist that we know this is more than a simple story about humility.