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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

            The Pharisee And The Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14)

INTRODUCTION

1. We've noted that in Luke 18, there are two parables that deal with
   the subject of prayer...
   a. "The Persistent Widow" - Lk 18:1-8
   b. "The Pharisee And The Tax Collector" - Lk 18:9-14

2. In "The Persistent Widow"...
   a. Jesus encouraged us to "pray and not lose heart" - Lk 18:1
   b. He taught the value of persevering in prayer

3. In the parable before us now, known as "The Pharisee And The 
   Tax-Collector"...
   a. Jesus illustrated the spirit that ought to pervade our prayers
   b. He teaches us how and in what manner we ought to pray to be heard
      by God - Lk 18:14

[Without the proper spirit, our perseverance in prayer will be for 
nothing.  This second parable on prayer is therefore very important,
and worthy of our consideration as we begin with...]

I. THE PARABLE ANALYZED

   A. 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
         a. Pharisees were a religious sect, noted for their strict
            observance of the Law and the traditions of the elders
         b. 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)

   B. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT PRAYERS...
      1. The prayer of the Pharisee - Lk 18:11-12
         a. 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
         b. 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
         a. 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
         b. He expressed his repentance and humility in what he said
            1) Calling himself a sinner
            2) Pleading God for mercy

   C. IT IS ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT RESULTS...
      1. The tax collector goes home "justified" - Lk 18:14a
         a. The term as used in the forensic sense means "not guilty!"
         b. He had received that wonderful blessedness described by
            David - cf. Ps 32:1-2
      2. The Pharisee also goes home...with nothing!
         a. He might as well stayed home
         b. The most he might have gotten was the reward of being seen
            by men - cf. Mt 6:5

[The meaning and purpose of this parable are very clear, both from the
introductory statement by Jesus in Lk 18:9, and the concluding remark
in Lk 18:14...

   "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who 
   humbles himself will be exalted."

But to reinforce the point, here are a few thoughts relating to...]

II. THE PARABLE APPLIED

   A. 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

   B. 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

   C. 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!
         a. An important principle espoused in Isaiah - Isa 57:15;
            66:1-2
         b. And extolled by Mary His mother in "The Magnificat" - cf. 
            Lk 1:46-55

CONCLUSION

1. In this parable of "The Pharisee And The Tax Collector", we have
   seen...
   a. The Pharisee pray as one who needed no forgiveness, and got none
   b. The tax collector pray as one needed forgiveness, and he received
      it

2. Do we need forgiveness, even as Jesus' disciples?
   a. Of course we do! - cf. 1Jn 1:8-10
   b. Then let us pray with the humility of the tax collector, who
      prayed like the man after God's own heart (David)...

   "Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness;
      According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, 
         Blot out my transgressions.
   "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
      For I acknowledge my transgressions, 
         And my sin is always before me.
                               
                                 - Ps 51:1-3

Let us not trust in our own righteousness, but in the mercy and
lovingkindness of God offered so abundantly in His Son Jesus Christ!
As the beloved disciple wrote in his first epistle:

   "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
   Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for
   our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

                                 - 1Jn 2:1b-2
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