Summary: Have you noticed that the men in Christ’s parable pray to two different deities?
Two Prayers, Two Gods
V9. Look who the parable is spoken to. Not a good crowd.
- I’m not aiming at anybody. My desire is to simply examine what Jesus said and what it can mean to us.
v.9 Trusted in themselves that they were righteous
- This the whole problem with the Jews and the Law.
· The Law was given as the rule of righteousness, not the playing field on which it’s earned.
- Modern Good Ol Boys “I’m pretty good compared to everyone else, even folks who go to church.”
- Touches on next point. “Despised others” – you have to, if you’re really going to trust in your own righteousness – as soon as someone around you is noticeably more righteous than you are, it threatens your whole deal. Jewish prayer of the day: “I thank you, God, that you did not make me a slave, a Gentile, or a woman.”
v.11 “Prayed thus with HIMSELF”
- this the essence of idolatry – worshipping the work of one’s own hands. Idolatry not only creates false gods, but makes the idolater the source of the gods. Idolatry outwardly places a piece of wood or stone on the throne of God, but inwardly, the self is deified.
- There is more than a hint of this prayer active and alive in the culture and in the church. We’ve preached “God loves you just the way you are” so often that now the response we get to that preaching is, “Well, of course He does! What’s not to love?”
v. 12 Mixing God’s law with human commandments (the essence of legalism)
- God requires the tithe, but makes no law concerning weekly fasts.
By the way, fasting twice a week was common on Monday and Thursday. Market days in Jerusalem—pharisees could display their devotion to a larger number of people.
V13. This is real repentance
- A sense of uncleanness (stood afar off, unwilling to defile holiness)
- A sense of severe unworthiness (would not look up)
- A sense of desperation that drives you to God, because there is no other hope.
V14. Justified. Discuss esp. the fact that the tax collector was not justified by works, but by the grace of God.