When Jesus was speaking to a large group of people, he told them a story about two men from different backgrounds. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray,” Jesus said, “one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.’”
When Jesus was speaking to a large group of people, he told them a story about two men from different backgrounds. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray,” Jesus said, “one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.’” Jesus then told the people more about the tax collector. He said, “But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
When Jesus was not teaching, people would bring their babies and children to him, so that he might touch them or give them a blessing. The apostles who were with Jesus tried to stop this from happening, but Jesus spoke to them about the children. “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”
Then a local official asked Jesus a question. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother.’”
The man said to Jesus, “All of these I have observed from my youth.”
But then Jesus said, “There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and then you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
This made the man very sad, because he was very rich, so Jesus said for everyone to hear, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What was the tax collector’s prayer?
2. What did Jesus ask the official to do?
The Hasidim were Jews who wanted to protect their laws and traditions from the influence of other cultures. Some members of the group later joined the Pharisees. The Pharisees placed an even stronger emphasis on religious laws and rules. They believed that people who did not follow these rules were sinners. The Pharisees were often very critical of Jesus because they felt he did not respect the religious laws. The Sadducees were religious leaders and priests who accepted only the written scriptures and not the oral traditions of their culture that had been passed down through many generations. Men from these groups often challenged Jesus for his teaching.
Simon and Jude (d. first century) are two of the lesser-known of the first apostles of Jesus. Simon was sometimes called the zealot, not because he was a member of the sect called the Zealots, but because of his zeal, or enthusiasm, for the Jewish law prior to being called by Jesus. Most likely Simon later preached in Egypt and joined with Jude on missionary journeys. Even less is known about Jude. There is nothing in the Scriptures about him beyond being chosen by Jesus. There is a New Testament book of Jude, but most scholars believe he is a different person. We honor these two apostles on Oct. 28.