Pharisee and Tax Collector

 

Luke 18:9-14
Jesus also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves because they were righteous, but who looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple to pray.

 

Possible Points of Jesus
  1. THE PARABLE ANALYZED
    1. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT MEN…
      1. They both go to the temple to pray – Lk 18:10
      2. One is a Pharisee, the other a tax-collector
        1. Pharisees were a religious sect, noted for their strict observance of the Law and the traditions of the elders
        2. Tax-collectors were consider by the Pharisees to be extortioners and traitors
          1. Extortioners, because they collected more than was required, for personal gain
          2. Traitors, because while Jews they represented an occupying power (Rome)
    2. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT PRAYERS…
      1. The prayer of the Pharisee – Lk 18:11-12
        1. He thanks God that he is not like others
          1. Especially extortioners, unjust, adulterers
          2. or even the tax collector nearby
            — Thus he reveals his disdain for others – cf. Lk 18:9
        2. He recounts his good deeds
          1. “I fast twice a week” – the Law required only an annual fast – Lev 16:29
          2. “I give tithes of all that I possess.” – The Law required only a tithe on certain items; this man gave tithes on ALL he possessed – cf. Deut 14:22-23
            — Thus he reveals how he trusted in his self-righteousness – cf. Lk 18:9
      2. The prayer of the tax collector – Lk 18:13
        1. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he did
          1. He stood “afar off”
          2. He would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven (lifting one’s eyes to heaven was a common posture for prayer at that time)
          3. He beat his breast in anguish over his sins
        2. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he said
          1. Calling himself a sinner
          2. Pleading God for mercy
    3. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT RESULTS…
      1. The tax collector goes home “justified” – Lk 18:14a
        1. The term as used in the forensic sense means “not guilty!”
        2. He had received that wonderful blessedness described by David – cf. Ps 32:1-2
      2. The Pharisee also goes home…with nothing!
        1. He might as well stayed home
        2. The most he might have gotten was the reward of being seen by men – cf. Mt 6:5
  2. THE PARABLE APPLIED
    1. JESUS WARNS AGAINST SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS…
      1. The Pharisee trusted in his own good works, but it was to no avail
      2. He should have recalled the words of Isaiah – cf. Isa 64:6
      3. We should remember the words of Jesus and Paul – cf. Lk 17:10; Ep 2:8-10; Tit 3:3-5
    2. JESUS WARNS AGAINST ARROGANCE…
      1. The Pharisee despised others, including the tax collector
      2. He should have recalled the words of Solomon – cf. Pr 8:13; 16:18; 29:23
      3. We should remember the words of Jesus and James – cf. Lk 14:11; Jm 2:1-9
    3. JESUS TEACHES THE VALUE OF HUMILITY…
      1. He had taught the value of humility before others in the parable of “Taking The Lowest Place” – Lk 14:7-11
      2. Now He teaches the value of humility before God!
        1. An important principle espoused in Isaiah – Isa 57:15; 66:1-2
        2. And extolled by Mary His mother in “The Magnificat” – cf. Lk 1:46-55
  3. CONCLUSION
    1. In this parable of “The Pharisee And The Tax Collector”, we have seen…
      1. The Pharisee pray as one who needed no forgiveness, and got none
      2. The tax collector pray as one needed forgiveness, and he received it
    2. Do we need forgiveness, even as Jesus’ disciples?
      1. Of course we do! – cf. 1Jn 1:8-10
      2. Then let us pray with the humility of the tax collector, who prayed like the man after God’s own heart (David)…

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