Tax Collector


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The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

    Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

    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.”

    I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. -- Luke 18:10-14

Pride comes natural to man, a factor in man’s first sin, there in the Garden of Eden, when man decided that he wanted to be equal to God, and to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Man’s fall likely resulted from the same or similar feeling of self-exaltation as was demonstrated by the Pharisee in this parable.

In the church today, we see this same attitude, without disguise or concealed, sometimes even in the semblance of humility.

This parable was spoken to expose the evil, and to warn us of its consequence.

The Pharisee

  • Public professor of religion
  • Strictest of all religious sects
    • Letter of the law
    • Devotion
    • Self denial
  • Devotions in the temple
    • Often seen
    • Public prayers
  • Nature of worship
    • Abruptly addresses God
      • Almost as an equal
    • Exalts himself
    • Compares himself to others
    • Pretense of thanking God

The tax collector

  • Sense of unworthiness
  • Confesses his state before God
  • Seeks mercy

Divine treatment of both

  • Conversant
  • Pharisee
    • Saw through the phoniness
    • Despised him for his self exaltation
  • Tax collector
    • Saw the contrite heart
    • Viewed him with delight

Application of the parable

  • Man’s true state and character
  • Man’s need for mercy
  • True way of obtaining mercy
  • Ruinous nature of self-righteousness









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