The Parables of Jesus
More Teaching on Prayer
Pharisee and the Publican
9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11. 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.
12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast,
saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall
be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Verse 9 - And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised
[A] For a number of weeks we have been looking at parables concerning prayer – this one is no different. In this
parable we will be again looking at prayer, with a parable that Jesus told to a group of people who as verse nine
says, trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
 This is not an isolated problem, but instead a problem that has existed since the beginning of Time, and is a
problem that continues to exist even today
 The purpose for Jesus telling this parable was to show that the prayers of those who were self righteous and
despised others would not be honored in heaven.
[B] The certain
 It is unsure who the certain people whom Jesus spoke to were, but it likely was to the Pharisees.
 Although this might have been the case, the parable is spoken to us today as well
[C] Which trusted in themselves
 What does this mean – to trust in them selves?
[a] They confided in themselves
[b] They supposed that they were righteous.
[c] They did not trust to God or the Messiah for righteousness, but instead trusted their own works.
[d] They supposed that they had complied with the demands of the law and therefore had made it
 What’s wrong with this attitude?
 What is the proper attitude for one to have?
[D] Despised others.
 The disliked those who were not as externally righteous as they themselves were
[a] That was the character of the Pharisees.
[1-a] The Pharisees trusted in their outward conformity to the ceremonies of the law.
[2-a] They considered all who did not do that as sinners.
[b] This, moreover, is the true character of self-righteousness.
[a] Consider our society and our religious community today – have we changed?
[b] Do we judge people who are not as religious outside as we are?
[c] Do we look down on those who are not doing what we do?
[d] Do we judge from outward appearances or from what is in ones heart?
[e] How are we too look at others?
[f] If someone is not acting as holy as we are, what should our opinion of them be?
[g] If we do not act as Holy as Jesus did, what should God think of us?
Verse ten - Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
[A] Two men went up to the temple to pray
 They apparently went to the court of the temple where prayers were offered continuously
[B] The one was a Pharisee
 What or who were the Pharisees?
[a] A Group of Jews who studied the law and believed that they had the proper Interpretation
[b] They were very legalistic – and believed that one must adhere to the letter of the law
 Who or what were the Publicans?
[a] A tax collector p working for the Roman Government
[b] They were known for their dishonesty
Verse eleven - 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.
[A] What’s wrong with this man’s prayer?
 He is trying to tell God how good he is, and how bad others are.
[B] He stood and prayed thus with himself.
 He stood by himself and prayed.
[a] This was a characteristic of one sect of Pharisees, who dreaded contact with others
[1-a] They believed that being close to a sinner polluted them.
[2-a] Their righteousness would not allow them to associate with non believers of
[a] Considering Christians today –
[1-a] Are we much different then these Pharisees?
[2-a] Do we not separate ourselves from the lost?
[3-a] Do we not consider it taboo to go into bars and other places were the lost are Found?
[b] Where did Jesus go to minister?
[c] Who did Jesus minister too?
[d] Who are we to minister too?
[e] How can we save the lost if we consider ourselves better than they?
[C] He prayed - God, I thank thee.
 In the Pharisee’s prayer there was an appearance of real religion.
[a] He didn’t claim that he had made himself better than others.
[b] He was willing to acknowledge that God had done it for him, and that he had a right to his gratitude for it.
[c] It wasn’t wrong to thank God for being kept from the gross sins other’s commit; but it should have been
done in a proper manor remembering that we are all sinners and need pardon from God.
[D] He prayed – thank you that I am not like the extortioners.
 Those who take away the goods of others by force and violence.
 It means, also, those who take advantage of the necessities of others, the poor and the oppressed, and extort
[E] He prayed – thank you that I am not like the Unjust.
 Those who are not fair and honest in their dealings;
 Those who get property of others by fraud.
[F] He prayed – Thank you that I am not like the adulterers, or even as this publican.
 What’s wrong with his prayer so far?
 What is he praying in the wrong manor?
 How should he have been prating?
Verse twelve - I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
[A] I fast twice,
 This was probably the Jewish custom.
[a] The Pharisees are said to have fasted regularly on the second and fifth days of every week in private.
[b] This was in addition to the public days of fasting required in the law of Moses, and they therefore made
more a matter of merit of it because it was voluntary.
[B] I give tithes.
 A tithe means the tenth part of a thing.
 A tenth part of the possessions of the Jews was required for the support of the Levites.
 In addition to the tithes required strictly by law, the Pharisees had tithed everything which they possessed--
even the smallest matters--as mint, anise, cummin,
 In all likelihood, the man was giving what was required of him and nothing more.
Verse thirteen - And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon
his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
[A] Standing afar off. - Afar off from the temple.
 The place where prayer was offered in the temple was the court of women.
 The Pharisee advanced to the side of the court nearest to the temple, or near as he could;
 The publican stood on the other side of the same court if he was a Jew, or in the court of the Gentiles if he
was a pagan, as far as possible from the temple, being conscious of his unworthiness to approach the
sacred place where God had his holy habitation.
[B] He would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven
 He was conscious of his guilt.
 He knew he was a sinner.
 His shame and sorrow prevented his looking up.
[C] He smote his breast
 This showed an expression of grief and anguish in view of his sins.
 It was a sign of grief among almost all the nations.
[D] God be merciful to me a sinner.
 The prayer of the publican was totally different from that of the Pharisee.
 He made no boast of his own righteousness toward God or man.
 He felt that he was a sinner, and, feeling it, was willing to acknowledge it.
 This is the kind of prayer that will be acceptable to God.
[a] When we are willing to confess and forsake our sins, we shall find mercy
[b] The publican was willing to do this in any place; in the presence of any persons; amid the multitudes of
the temple, or alone.
[c] He felt most that God was a witness of his actions, and he was willing, therefore, to confess his sins
Verse fourteen - I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth
himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
[A] Jesus said, I tell you
 The Pharisees would have looked on the first man and approved of his prayer
 Jesus assures us that they judged wrongly
 God judges the heart and the true convictions of a man
[B] This man went down to his house justified rather than the other
 Accepted or approved of God.
 The word justify means to declare or treat as righteous.
 In this case it means that in their prayers the one was approved and the other not;
 The one went down with the favor of God in answer to his petitions, the other not.
[C] Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased
 To be abased is to be brought down – to be humbled
 To exalt ones-self is to make your self better than you are
[a] What Jesus is saying is this – If you build yourself up – God will bring you down.
[b] If you brag on yourself and try to make yourself look good, God will show everyone who and what you
[c] You may fool man but you cannot fool God
[D] He that humbleth himself shall be exalted
 To be humble means what?
[a] To be absent of pride
[b] To place others before yourself
 To be exalted means what?
[a] To be lifted up
[A] What can we learn from this parable?
 One must be humble when they come before God
 One must come with a contrite heart
 One must not elevate themselves above others
 God knows the heart, and it doesn’t matter how good we tell him we are, he knows the truth
 Pride holds no place in our prayers to God
[B] According to what we have learned,
 What are the conditions for answered prayer?
 What things might hinder our prayers?
[C] If while we are praying, we realize that we have something against another person,
 What should we do?
 How should we pray?
[D] If there is someone who hates us, and despitefully uses us
 Should we ask God to hurt them for us?
 Should we seek vengeance through God?
 Should we pray for them?
[E] If we want God to hear our prayers –
 What should we do?
 How should we pray?
 What should be the attitude of our prayer?