Luke 18:14 - Insights from the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

Luke 18:14 - Insights from the Parable of the Pharisee and the 
Tax Collector. 

Luke 18:14 (NLT) I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, 
returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will 
be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 

Luke 18:9-14: The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. 

Jesus identified the contrast between the Pharisee and the tax 
collector as one between pride and humility, between those who exalt and 
those who humble themselves. God will bring down the proud and will 
exalt the humble. [Nelson SB] 

   The Pharisee goes up to the temple to worship, not because he 
feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks 
himself righteous and hopes to win commendation. His worship he regards 
as an act of merit that will recommend him to God. At the same time 
it will give the people a high opinion of his piety. He hopes to 
secure favor with both God and man. His worship is prompted by 
   And he is full of self-praise. He looks it, he walks it, he 
prays it. Drawing apart from others as if to say, "Come not near to 
me; for I am holier than thou" (Isa. 65:5), he stands and prays 
"with himself." Wholly self-satisfied, he thinks that God and men 
regard him with the same complacency.  
   "God, I thank thee," he says, "that I am not as other men 
are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." He 
judges his character, not by the holy character of God, but by the 
character of other men. His mind is turned away from God to humanity. This 
is the secret of his self-satisfaction.  
   He proceeds to recount his good deeds: "I fast twice in the 
week, I give tithes of all that I possess." The religion of the 
Pharisee does not touch the soul. He is not seeking Godlikeness of 
character, a heart filled with love and mercy. He is satisfied with a 
religion that has to do only with outward life. His righteousness is his 
own--the fruit of his own works--and judged by a human standard.  
   Whoever trusts in himself that he is righteous, will despise 
others. As the Pharisee judges himself by other men, so he judges other 
men by himself. His righteousness is estimated by theirs, and the 
worse they are the more righteous by contrast he appears. His 
self-righteousness leads to accusing. "Other men" he condemns as transgressors of 
God's law. Thus he is making manifest the very spirit of Satan, the 
accuser of the brethren. With this spirit it is impossible for him to 
enter into communion with God. He goes down to his house destitute of 
the divine blessing.  
   The publican had gone to the temple with other worshipers, 
but he soon drew apart from them as unworthy to unite in their 
devotions. Standing afar off, he "would not lift up so much as his eyes 
unto heaven, but smote upon his breast," in bitter anguish and 
self-abhorrence. He felt that he had transgressed against God, that he was sinful 
and polluted. He could not expect even pity from those around him, 
for they looked upon him with contempt. He knew that he had no merit 
to commend him to God, and in utter self-despair he cried, "God be 
merciful to me, a sinner." He did not compare himself with others. 
Overwhelmed with a sense of guilt, he stood as if alone in God's presence. 
His only desire was for pardon and peace, his only plea was the 
mercy of God. And he was blessed. "I tell you," Christ said, "this man 
went down to his house justified rather than the other."  
   The Pharisee and the publican represent two great classes 
into which those who come to worship God are divided. Their first two 
representatives are found in the first two children that were born into the 
world. Cain thought himself righteous, and he came to God with a thank 
offering only. He made no confession of sin, and acknowledged no need of 
mercy. But Abel came with the blood that pointed to the Lamb of God. He 
came as a sinner, confessing himself lost; his only hope was the 
unmerited love of God. The Lord had respect to his offering, but to Cain 
and his offering He had not respect. The sense of need, the 
recognition of our poverty and sin, is the very first condition of 
acceptance with God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:3. COL150-3 

The Pharisee thought himself righteous (see v. 9), but God did 
not think so. The publican knew himself to be a sinner (see v. 13), 
and this realization opened the way for God to pronounce him 
sinless--a sinner justified by divine mercy (see on v. 13). It was the 
attitudes of the two men toward themselves and toward God that made the 
difference... The Pharisee disqualified himself from receiving divine mercy 
and grace. Self-satisfaction closed the door of his heart to the 
rich currents of divine love that brought joy and peace to the 
publican. The prayer of the Pharisee was unacceptable before God, for it 
was not accompanied with the incense of the merits of Jesus Christ. 
[SDA Bible Commentary] 

The Pharisee did not go to the temple to pray to God but to 
announce to all within earshot how good he was. The tax collector went 
recognizing his sin and begging for mercy. Self-righteousness is dangerous. 
It leads to pride, causes a person to despise others, and prevents 
him or her from learning anything from God. The tax collector's 
prayer should be our prayer, because we all need God's mercy every day. 
Don't let pride in your achievements cut you off from God. [Life 
Application SB] 

The Pharisee's righteousness has made him contemptuous and 
loveless and self-centered; he prays "with himself" and gives thanks that 
he is not like other men. The praying tax collector beats his 
breast in desperation, prays the prayer of Ps.51:1, and receives the 
promise of Ps.51:17: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken 
spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." He 
goes down to his house justified.  The great promise of the future 
(will be exalted) has restored and renewed him even now. [Concordia 

Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel 
the need of a living, personal union with Christ. {COL162}  

To be self-emptied is the fundamental and indispensable 
preparation for the reception of the grace of God that brings salvation. 
[Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary] 

We have to come to grips with our own spiritual poverty before 
we can experience the riches of a relationship with Christ. As long 
as we feel self-sufficient, we will never know his sufficiency. As 
long as we are satisfied with what this world offers, we will never 
know the value in living for eternal things. As long as we are 
content with our own abilities, we will never experience the power of 
God working through us. That's why Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor 
in spirit" (Matthew 5:3). Here in Jesus' parable, the humble tax 
collector is commended because - in contrast to the proud Pharisee who was 
satisfied with his own righteousness - he recognized his own poverty of 
spirit, his own sinfulness. [NIV Once A Day Bible re Luke 18:9-14] 

   I am ever so near you, hovering over your shoulder, reading 
every thought. People think that thoughts are fleeting and worthless, 
but yours are precious to Me. I smile when you think lovingly of Me. 
My Spirit, who lives within you, helps you to think My thoughts. As 
your thinking goes, so goes your entire being.  
   Let Me be your positive Focus. When you look to Me, knowing 
Me as God with you, you experience Joy. This is according to My 
ancient design, when I first crafted man. Modern man seeks his positive 
focus elsewhere: in sports, sensations, acquiring new possessions. 
Advertising capitalizes on the longing of people for a positive focus in 
their lives. I planted that longing in human souls, knowing that only 
I could fully satisfy it. Delight yourself in Me; let Me become 
the Desire of your heart. (Mat. 1:23; Psa. 37:4) [Jesus Calling by 
Sarah Young] 


Let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with 
Him not only for a day, but for eternity. [My Utmost for His Highest 
by Oswald Chambers]