Ten lessons from the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector



Let’s read about the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector which was mentioned by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14

9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’  13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


Jesus was aware of the thoughts of the people around him. He knew that though he preached the Gospel of repentance, there were those who took it the wrong way. These people didn’t deny the need to be righteous but in fact were very proud of their own righteousness. So proud were they, that they scorned everyone else who didn’t measure up to their standard of righteousness. No wonder Jesus had a fitting parable to such self righteous attitudes. This is also a calling by Jesus on our attitudes towards prayer.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from this parable:

  1. The righteousness that comes from Christ is the only true righteousness you need.
  2. Do not display your own righteousness before the Lord expecting a goodie for that.
  3. Avoid boasting of your achievements in prayer to God.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others in prayer even if they are proven to be more worse than you.
  5. No justification comes from self exaltation.
  6. If you humble yourself before God then you will be exalted by him.
  7. You need to believe in God to make you righteous by his Son Jesus Christ.
  8. A simple prayer of repentance is of more value than fancy words made to look like prayer.
  9. Express your emotions about your weakness to the Lord in good faith so that you overcome them.
  10. God is fully aware of the real attitude of your heart no matter how much you hide it from people.
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Posted on April 28, 2014, in Discernment, Prayer tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this list. I used a few for staff devotions today (4/1/22) at Fourth Baptist Christian School in Plymouth, MN.

    Liked by 1 person

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