The Parables of Jesus
More Teaching on Prayer

Pharisee and the Publican

Luke 18:9-14
    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
    others:

   [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:
            [1] 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
            [2] 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
           [1] It is unsure who the certain people whom Jesus spoke to were, but it likely was to the Pharisees.
           [2] Although this might have been the case, the parable is spoken to us today as well

   [C] Which trusted in themselves
           [1] 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
           [2] What’s wrong with this attitude?
           [3] What is the proper attitude for one to have?

   [D] Despised others.
            [1] 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.
           [2] Questions
                   [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
           [1] They apparently went to the court of the temple where prayers were offered continuously
   
    [B] The one was a Pharisee
           [1] 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
           [2] 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?
           [1] He is trying to tell God how good he is, and how bad others are.

    [B] He stood and prayed thus with himself.  
            [1] 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
                                    sinners                         
           [2] Questions
                   [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.
            [1] 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.
            [1] Those who take away the goods of others by force and violence.
            [2] It means, also, those who take advantage of the necessities of others, the poor and the oppressed, and extort
                    their property.

    [E] He prayed – thank you that I am not like the Unjust.
            [1] Those who are not fair and honest in their dealings;
            [2] 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.
            [1] What’s wrong with his prayer so far?
            [2] What is he praying in the wrong manor?
            [3] 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,
            [1] 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.
            [1] A tithe means the tenth part of a thing.
            [2] A tenth part of the possessions of the Jews was required for the support of the Levites.
            [3] 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,
            [4] 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.
            [1] The place where prayer was offered in the temple was the court of women.
            [2] The Pharisee advanced to the side of the court nearest to the temple, or near as he could;
            [3] 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
            [1] He was conscious of his guilt.
            [2] He knew he was a sinner.
            [3] His shame and sorrow prevented his looking up.  

    [C] He smote his breast
            [1] This showed an expression of grief and anguish in view of his sins.
            [2] It was a sign of grief among almost all the nations.

    [D] God be merciful to me a sinner.
            [1] The prayer of the publican was totally different from that of the Pharisee.
            [2] He made no boast of his own righteousness toward God or man.
            [3] He felt that he was a sinner, and, feeling it, was willing to acknowledge it.
            [4] 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
                           before him.

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
            [1] The Pharisees would have looked on the first man and approved of his prayer
            [2] Jesus assures us that they judged wrongly
            [3] God judges the heart and the true convictions of a man

    [B] This man went down to his house justified rather than the other
            [1] Accepted or approved of God.
            [2] The word justify means to declare or treat as righteous.
                    [1] In this case it means that in their prayers the one was approved and the other not;
                    [2] 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
            [1] To be abased is to be brought down – to be humbled
            [2] 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
                            really are
                    [c] You may fool man but you cannot fool God

    [D] He that humbleth himself shall be exalted
            [1] To be humble means what?
                    [a] To be absent of pride
                    [b] To place others before yourself
            [2] To be exalted means what?
                    [a] To be lifted up

Conclusion

    [A] What can we learn from this parable?
            [1] One must be humble when they come before God
            [2] One must come with a contrite heart
            [3] One must not elevate themselves above others
            [4] God knows the heart, and it doesn’t matter how good we tell him we are, he knows the truth
            [5] Pride holds no place in our prayers to God
    [B] According to what we have learned,
            [1] What are the conditions for answered prayer?
            [2] What things might hinder our prayers?
           
    [C] If while we are praying, we realize that we have something against another person,   
            [1] What should we do?
            [2] How should we pray?

    [D] If there is someone who hates us, and despitefully uses us
            [1] Should we ask God to hurt them for us?
            [2] Should we seek vengeance through God?
            [3] Should we pray for them?

    [E] If we want God to hear our prayers –        
            [1] What should we do?
            [2] How should we pray?
            [3] What should be the attitude of our prayer?