Corner of Crown & Albion Streets, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Photo by Albert Chiu



The stained glass windows of CPC's auditorium.

Pastoral Letter 23rd June 2024

Pastor Esther Wang

This semester, the weekly bible studies at campus fellowship (EMBS) at the University of New South Wales are based on the parables of Jesus. When I studied with the students the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), I was deeply moved by this seemingly simple parable. Most Christians will be familiar with this parable. The Pharisee represents the self-righteous, who take pride in following a multitude of rules. The tax collector represents those who admit their sins and their need for God’s grace. Jesus deemed the tax collector more justified than the Pharisee who followed all the rules.

Certainly one needs to humble oneself before God and confess to be a sinner. However, does that imply that Christians don’t need good behaviours to prove our faith? Obviously that’s not Jesus’ main message. When Jesus said “justified”, more likely, he referred to that God gave him the status of a righteous person and accepted him. Other than Jesus Christ, there is no one truly righteous. The Pharisee might have followed the rules well and actually behaved better than the tax collector. However, the Pharisee was still a sinner before God just like the tax collector, and both needed redemption by Jesus Christ. Sadly, the Pharisee was blinded by his good behaviours and could not see his need for God’s grace. He did not express any need for Jesus in his prayer. On the other hand, the tax collector clearly saw his reality, that he was a sinner and desperately needed God’s mercy and grace. Thus Jesus said that the tax collector was accepted by God.

Am I also blinded by the so-called good behaviours and undervalue the preciousness of God’s grace? Do I truly understand my own limitations and predicament like the tax collector? How desperately do I long for and need God’s grace?

When we serve in various church ministries, we are grateful for all the rich resources CPC has. At the same time, we can also see many problems and gaps. Perhaps it is precisely these issues that remind us of our need for God, our reliance on Him and His grace. True wisdom is not how clever or capable we are, or how many problems we can fix. True wisdom is to acknowledge our need for Jesus, and completely trust and rely on Him. May God open our hearts and give us true wisdom.





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