A Contemporary Look at Jesus’ Parables: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector 

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people€”robbers, evildoers, adulterers€”or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

This parable certainly applies to the modern church. It may even apply to each of us.

How often do we see someone (ourselves, perhaps), doing something for public consumption or to make ourselves feel better?

How often do we look at someone else and say quietly “I’m glad I’m not like him!”

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23)

The Pharisee believed he had done all in his power to lives a righteous life, that he did not need God’s forgiveness. He boasted of this, his self-righteousness.

The tax collector (publican) came humbly before God, confessing his sins and asking forgiveness.

BOTH were offered God’s forgiveness. Only one accepted (received) it.

The Lenten Season places special emphasis on confession and repentance to accept God’s grace. While it is a time for communal worship, it is not a time for public display and boasting of our sacrifice, of what we “give up” for God.

God wants us to give up only one thing… that which separates us from Him… SIN!

For many are called, but few are chosen… (Matthew 22:14)

In the Greek, the word used for “many” is all inclusive (everyone), unlike that word in English which means “a large number.”

This scripture is found in the Parable of the Wedding Feast. In the end, everyone was invited to the feast. Only a few accepted the invitation, chose to attend.

Accepting God’s grace is a choice.

My thanks to Pastor Michael whose Ash Wednesday message is the basis of this blog.

Shalom, Art
Alive in The Word

This is a part of a series on the Parables of Jesus. Below are links to  all of the blogs in this series.

What is a parable?

A Contemporary Look at Jesus Parables €“ The Wedding Banquet

A Contemporary Look at Jesus’ Parables-Laborers in the Vineyard

A Contemporary Look at Jesus’ Parables: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

A Contemporary Look at Jesus’ Parables: The Ten Lepers

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About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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4 Responses to A Contemporary Look at Jesus’ Parables: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

  1. Pingback: Are you a Pharisee? Characteristic #8 - Pharisees are suspicious and assume the worst

  2. Pingback: Are you a Pharisee? Characteristic #2

  3. ptl2010 says:

    Art, I love to follow your many blog series.. they add to my knowledge and so much to my spiritual perspectives. May the Lord bless each blog to bless the readers and touch their lives.
    May we never be too proud to accept His grace in all situations – always given for our benefit. May we choose Him rather than the vainglory this world offers.

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