Luke 18:14 - Insights on Pride and Humility.

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 


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

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] 


What Makes God Mad
   This might surprise some people: God 
isnt mad at sinners. God isnt mad at you; 
Hes mad about you. He loves you. 
   But I would also add that God does get 
angry when people who think theyre spiritual or 
call themselves religious stand in the way of 
others coming to believe in Him. 
   We find a story in the New Testament 
about a man who went to the Temple to pray. He was 
a tax collector, and tax collectors werent 
loved a lot in those days. 
   Another man also went to pray, and he was 
a Pharisee. The Pharisee said, I thank you, 
God, that I am not like other people - cheaters, 
sinners, adulterers. Im certainly not like that 
tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give 
you a tenth of my income (Luke 18:11-12 
   In reality, I think his prayers didnt 
go any higher than the ceiling, because that 
wasnt a prayer to God. That was a boast. 
   Meanwhile, the tax collector who knew he 
was a sinner simply said, O God, be merciful 
to me, for I am a sinner (verse 13 NLT). 
   Jesus said of these two men, 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 (verse 14 NLT). 
   Like the tax collector, Im just a 
sinner who said, Lord, forgive me. And He 
did. He will do that for you, no matter what sin 
youve committed. Jesus said, I am the 
resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will 
live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me 
and believes in me will never ever die (John 
11:25-26 NLT). 
   Jesus will give you the meaning of life 
on earth, and He will give you the hope of life 
beyond the grave. [Greg Laurie from Harvest 
Ministries; https://www.harvestdaily.com] 


   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 self-interest.  
   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 
   "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 
   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 

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 
collectors prayer should be our prayer, because we all 
need Gods mercy every day. Dont 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 SB]  

The Rewards of Humility
   The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody 
said, I have had more trouble with D. L. Moody 
than with any other man who has crossed my path. 
If I can keep him right, I dont have any 
trouble with other people. 
   We love to blame things on other people 
when, in reality, the problem lies with us. We can 
point fingers and complain about this person doing 
that thing and that person doing another thing. 
But the truth is that our own hearts arent 
   Its no different than Adam and Eve 
shifting blame in the Garden of Eden. Adam said, 
It was the woman you gave me who gave me the 
fruit, and I ate it. Then Eve said, The 
serpent deceived me  Thats why I ate it 
(Genesis 3:12"13 NLT). 
   All too often we blame other people or 
our circumstances rather than admit that were 
responsible for what we do. 
   Jesus told a parable about two men who 
went into the temple to pray. One was a sinner, 
and the other was a Pharisee. The sinner would 
not even lift his eyes to Heaven. Instead, he 
said, O God, be merciful to me, for I am a 
sinner (Luke 18:13 NLT). This guy was bad, and he 
knew it. 
   Meanwhile, the Bible says, The 
Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I 
thank thee, that I am not as other men are, 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this 
publican (verse 11 KJV).  
   Jesus said, 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 (verse 14 NLT). 
   The one who admitted his sin, the one who 
owned it, is the one who went home justified 
before God. [Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries; 


   A man was being tailgated by a 
stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the 
light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did 
the right thing and stopped at the crosswalk, 
even though he could have beaten the red light by 
accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating 
woman hit the horn, screaming in frustration as 
she missed her chance to get through the 
intersection with him.  
   As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a 
tap on her window and looked up into the face of 
a very serious police officer. The officer 
ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He 
took her to the police station where she was 
searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a 
   After a couple of hours, a policeman 
approached the cell and opened the door. She was 
escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting 
officer was waiting with her personal effects. 
   He said, "I'm very sorry for this 
mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while 
you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off 
in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at 
him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate 
holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, 
the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, 
and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on 
the trunk...  
   ....Naturally, I assumed you had stolen 
the car." [source unknown] 


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] 


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] 

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] 


1 Peter 5:5, 6 - Seeking Humility and 
Ignoring Pride. 


Proverbs 3:34 - Live for God and enjoy His 


James 4:6 - Grace Is Needed Now More Than 



If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 


Most Important Decision in Life: 

Steps to Peace by Billy Graham: 

A Man without Equal by Bill Bright: 

Seeking God Made Real: 

Prayer Made Real: 

Importance of Choice: 
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]  

Medical Seminar on Healthful Living by David 
DeRose, MD, MPH: 


Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies: 

Amazing Facts Bible Studies: 

Hope Awakens Bible Study Guides: 

Glow Tract Video Bible Studies: 


Islam and Christianity in Prophecy, The 
Third and Final Conflict by Tim Roosenberg: 

Unlocking Bible Prophecies by Cami Oetman of 
Adventist World Radio: https://www.awr.org/bible 

Revelation Now by Pastor Doug Batchelor: 

Hope Awakens by John Bradshaw of IIW: 

Prophecies Decoded by Pastor Ron Clouzet: