Summary: Jesus Teaches in Parables and Contrasts about the Pharisee and the Publican
(Luke 18:9-14) "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican."
Through the New Testament Jesus taught in parables.
A parable is a story that teaches a truth or moral.
And, one of His methods of teaching a parable was to use contrasts.
When we have a missionary show slides or a picture presentation we turn off the lights.
Do we turn off the lights because we don’t want to see, or because we want to see more clearly?
> By contrasting the darkness with the light of the projector we see the pictures more clearly.
> By making the room darker, we more clearly reveal the pictures.
Jesus did the same thing with parables...
> He contrasted one personality with another to reveal more clearly the truth of the story.
> By showing great contrast in His stories, He made the moral of the story much more stronger and more clear.
Look at the first part of this chapter (v. 1-8).
First He takes a person with the very least ability to help herself.
> It wasn’t like today. Widows did not have a welfare program.
> There was no free legal aid.
> If you were a widow, you were left to the mercy of friends and family.
> And, if you had neither family or friends; you were helpless indeed.
But, then He shows us that the man she is asking help of, is a person that would never help someone for charity...
> He regarded neither God or man.
> He was the most uncharitable person in the region.
> He had no intention of helping anyone, more less a widow.
The most helpless person needs help from the person most likely NOT to help her.
> A person with the least ability to pay...
> Is requesting help of the person least likely to do anything for anybody.
Yet, this widow who has NOTHING to offer...
> Gets help from the judge who never helps anyone fro free.
> WHY? Because she keeps bugging him...
(v. 1) We are told explicitly what the parable is meant to teach.
> The parable is to teach the men ought always to pray and not to faint (or quit).
> So He contrasts the person least likely to get help with the person least likely to help her...
> So that we can see that if she can get help from the unjust judge, we should be able to get help from God.
> If the widow could persevere with a wicked judge and get help...
> Then we can call on God, who WANTS to help us (v. 6-8).
In our text, this morning, we see another contrast...
And once again we are told explicitly what the parable is meant to teach (v. 9).
> The parable is meant to help those who think they are saved, but are not!
> It is addressing those who think they are righteous, but they are not!
It is a contrast between a self-righteous sinner, and a wicked unrighteous sinner.
> But, the point is: Some think they are going to heaven by their good works, look down on others...
The Pharisee and the Publican
I. The Pharisee.
A. The Highest Religious Person among the Jews.
1. Paul’s assessment of a Pharisee (Acts 26:4-5).
> Paul calls a Pharisee "the most straightest sect of their religion."
2. As far as the Jews were concerned, there was none greater spiritually than a Pharisee.
> They lived exemplary lives!
> They memorized whole portions of Scripture.
> They were the scribes who copied the Old Testament by hand; word for word!
3. When a Pharisee passed by, every Jew would stand aside and bow their heads.
> They were like the Pope, or Arch-Bishops.
B. They were like Elijah or Elisha.
1. They were revered and honored.
> They were highly esteemed.
> They were considered among the men of God.
2. Like we might see Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, or John R. Rice...
> They were great men of God in the eyes of the Jews.
C. Jesus said, two men went into the Temple to pray...
1. But, when He said, "The one a Pharisee..."
> It automatically painted a picture in the minds of His hearers...
> They saw a religious leader among a religious people.
> They saw a man worthy of honor and reverence.
2. When Jesus said, "The one a Pharisee..."
> They just assumed He would say great and honorable things about the man of God.
> They just assumed the parable was meant to honor and promote the Pharisee.
3. When Jesus said, "The one a Pharisee..."
> They were looking for a man of character and virtue.