- TWO MEN WENT UP TO THE TEMPLE:
- One belonged, the other didn’t / One
a member, the other a heathen.
- One good, the other bad / one a
saint, the other a sinner.
- One a tither, the other didn’t give.
- One went everyday, the other hadn’t
been since a child.
- One fasted, the other rarely fasted.
- One a preacher of righteousness, the
other an open crook.
- One going to heaven, the other going
- One wore white, the other wore black.
- One knew everyone, the other knew
only a few.
- One had a multitude of friends, the
other just a few.
- One respected by all, the other hated
- One kept the law, one openly broke
- One sang the songs of Zion, the other
- One sat up front, the other in a
- ONE WAS A PHARISEE:
- The Pharisee was a rich landowner
(land was the means of production) who didn’t have to work.
- They were an exclusive group of rich
- They were dedicated to keeping the
commandments of the OT.
rulings of the Rabbis.
- They put “a fence around the law”:
Made rules stricter
than the actual law.
Like tithing both
income and expenditures.
- They wore white—the color of heaven.
- They taught against sin:
All of their
teaching was based against sin.
Israel was in
trouble because of sin—so just stop sinning!
saying, “If all Israel will stop sinning for one day the Messiah will come”.
- There were about 6,000 Pharisees at
any one time.
- THE OTHER ONE WAS A TAX COLLECTOR:
- A “Scalawag”, a trader to Israel, and
a common thief.
- He sold out to the enemy, Rome, who
- He collected taxes for Rome and
cheated the Jews as well.
- He was a Jew who cheated his fellow
Jews for the enemy!
- The Sanhedrin ruled that Tax
Collectors were beyond repentance.
- TWO MEN WENT UP TO THE TEMPLE TO PRAY:
- The Pharisee prayer “with himself”
“To himself” (TEV);
“Standing by himself” (NRSV).
I like the NRSV
because it is a play on the word, Pharisee—a separate one.
- “God, I thank you that I am not like
other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterer—or even like this Tax Collector:
addresses God on a “first name basis” with no adjectives—giving the impression
He doesn’t thank
God for “making him not like other men”; that is something he takes credit for
He just thanks God
that he is not like other men.
adulterers like the Tax Collector.
- “I fast twice a week and give a tenth
of all I get”.
Pharisees fasted on
Thursdays during daylight hours.
This one brags that
he fasts twice as much! So he is twice
reference that the Tax Collector does not tithe.
- Pharisee certainly thinks highly of
The “I am” in verse
11 maybe a hint that he considers himself God, for “I am” was considered God’s name.
- He prays standing, in front, to be
seen and heard by everyone.
- THE TAX COLLECTOR STOOD AT A DISTANCE:
- Imagine the stir his being in the
- He tried to hide himself because of
- He refuses to look up towards God but
in the shameful position, prays.
- He also uses “God” alone to start the
I think for
opposite reasons than the Pharisee.
He does it because
God is not his God and he has no right to address him any other way.
- “God, have mercy on me the sinner”:
In Greek it is
“the” and not “a” sinner.
He recognizes his
sinfulness—he knows his situation.
He knows that he is
not right with God and all the consequences that go with it.
- He beats his breast in anguish and
pain at the shame he is feeling.
- He knows he cannot make things right
with God and he simply cries out for God’s mercy as a last resort.
- TWO MEN WENT HOME FROM THE TEMPLE THAT
- One was right with God; the other one
- One was now a good man, the other one
- One going to heaven, the other going
- One now a child of God, the other one
a child of the devil.
- BUT THE ORDER IS REVERSED:
- The Tax Collector is the righteous
- The Pharisee is the one going to
- WHO DO WE IDENTIFY WITH IN THE STORY?
- Some with the tax Collector:
Many a child has
gone astray and found forgiveness with God.
Many of us have
come home to the Father’s love.
- Most of us, however, had better watch
He thought he was
saved—everyone thought he was!
He thought he was a
good man, everyone thought it.
He was very religious—Church
was everything for him.
His life revolved
around Church and God.
You might say that
he was raised in Church!
- But his heart was never changed—he
was never saved.
He was still as
selfish as ever—maybe more so.
He used his
religion to hide his selfishness.
- He did all the right things for all
the wrong reasons.
He did everything
for himself—his own personal glory.
He was “confident
of his own righteousness” (verse 9).
He did and said the
right things but never for God or for others.
All was always for
- PAUL SAID TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN
SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.
- Paul also said that he had to watch
so that after he had helped save so many that he not lose out himself.
- We need to look at what we do and why
we do it.
- Why do we do what we do? For us or for God and others.
- Everyone we think is in Church is not
in the Church!
- Only those whose hearts are right
with God; those who have been forgiven by grace and washed in the blood
of the Lamb.
- Only those whose hearts have been
changed by God’s Spirit.