v 9. Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else.
Let me take you back to the story told by Jesus that we read on Tuesday, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The reason Jesus told the story was because he was aware that there were people who had absolutely the wrong attitude – the exact opposite to ‘poverty of spirit’. The Pharisee was the one applauded by society in general as being upright, law-keeping, God-worshipping, orthodox, and of course, Jewish – ‘One of us’. He was definitely a cut above the Tax Collector, not a Roman pagan, and certainly not an untouchable Samaritan. The Pharisee, as Jesus remarked, had great confidence in his own righteousness. He was an OK – one of the holy people, AND he knew it!
What an easy attitude to catch! It can spread in a Christian group quicker than Covid-19, and be much more damaging. The feeling that we are the OK-insiders, and therefore much better than others is the very thing that excludes us from the blessing that Jesus is speaking about!