Chapel Visitors

Author: Gideon Eising — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: July 2, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Chapel Visitors

READ: LUKE 5:27-32; 18:9-17; ROMANS 5:6-11; 1 JOHN 2:1

The small chapel was an inconspicuous building tucked along a side street off of Main. The leaders on the mission trip hadn’t mentioned the little church, but they had told the students it was okay to explore the area in the evening after dinner as long as they stayed in pairs and didn’t go too far. The chapel itself had worn pews with only a few people scattered across several dozen rows. Xavier’s friend Liam had protested that it “wouldn’t be fun” and “there wasn’t much time,” but Xavier had responded, “There’s nothing better we could do than pray.”

So, Liam begrudgingly took a seat near the front with his friend. Xavier stole a glance around the room and thanked God that he wasn’t like Liam, who wanted “fun” instead of wanting to pray. Then he thanked God that he wasn’t like the drunk, staring blankly a few pews over, barely aware of the world.

Hearing a noise, he turned and glanced at someone slinking into a back pew, with a shirt that literally blazed, “I am the enemy” in flaming letters. Xavier thanked God that he knew better than to enter a church dressed like that.

The man in the t-shirt didn’t lift up his face. He just hoarsely whispered, “God, I need another chance, because I am the problem in my life.” • Gideon Eising

• Today’s story is an allegory of a parable Jesus told in Luke 18. Which character do you relate to most today—Xavier, Liam, the person in the middle pew, or the man in the back pew? Why?

• Jesus was telling this parable “to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness” and looked down on everybody else (Luke 18:9). When are you tempted to look down on others? Are you sometimes tempted to think of yourself as “less of a sinner” than the people around you?

• Is God too harsh in forgiving only the humble? Can our pride get in the way of grace? Read Luke 18:16-17. Jesus died and rose so all who put their trust in Him—relying on His perfect righteousness, not any imperfect righteousness of our own—can be forgiven (more on our “Know Jesus” page). Yet, even Christians can forget we need Jesus just as much as anybody. But, through the Holy Spirit, God helps us walk in humility and resist sins like pride. And even though we sin daily, we can come to Him with repentant hearts, knowing His love and forgiveness are sure. Because Jesus shed His blood on the cross for the person you’re tempted to look down on, and for you.

“I [Jesus] have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32 (NLT)