The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Sunday 23 October 2022

You are welcome to worship in person this Sunday at 10.15am.  Hand sanitizer and masks are available if you would like to use them.

We are also live streaming of our services.  The service can be seen each Sunday morning commencing at 10.15am.  Here is the link to our YouTube channel to access the live streaming: 

Today is the twentieth Sunday of the season of Pentecost and we will be looking at the Parable of ‘The Pharisee and the Tax Collector’ from Luke 18:9-14. In conjunction with this parable we will also look briefly at The Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8. These two parables are both on the subject of prayer and follow Jesus’ teaching about the final coming of the kingdom. Jesus had previously provided us with a model for prayer early in His ministry in what we know as the Lord’s Prayer.

In The Parable of the persistent widow, Jesus contrasts the selfish judge and the Heavenly Father. In that day it was difficult for poor widows to get justice, however she refused to quit until she got what she was after. Jesus is not teaching that God is like the unjust judge and we know that a righteous God will hear the prayers of His children and answer them. We should never think that we have to wear God down with persistent prayer before He will pay attention to us.

In today’s parable Jesus does not address the parable specifically to His disciples but to people, who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down with contempt on everybody else. V. 10 tells us that two men enter the temple to pray, one being a Pharisee and the other a sinful Tax Collector. The Pharisee has an aura of arrogant self-confidence and proceeds to tell God how good he is. At no time does he rely on the grace and love of God. He doesn’t ask God for anything, nor express any gratitude towards God. It is at best a statement of pride in oneself, at worst, it fails completely as a prayer.

The Tax Collector, who the Pharisee despises, is a stark contrast in that he is under conviction for the wrongs he had done. As a sign of repentance, he throws himself on God’s grace and prays ‘God have mercy on me a sinner.’ He asks God to remove His anger against him for sinning. He knows that he has sinned and what he deserves.

Jesus concludes the parable by declaring that the Tax Collector received God’s approval and went home vindicated by God. On the other hand, the self-righteous Pharisee was not justified before God. Jesus concludes with the main point of the second parable in v. 14 ‘for all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ In summarising v.14, the Pharisee forgot that he was a sinner, but the tax collector didn’t.     Keith

Our Mission is to
Connect with people in Jesus;
Build each other up in faith; and to
Become Like Jesus.