The Pharisees were respected as leaders, and their job caused them to closely follow the rules of their faith. The tax collector worked for the Roman government and often cheated his Jewish brothers in doing his job.
Both the Pharisee and the tax collector went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee’s prayer was simply a long list of his accomplishments that made him appear to be more spiritual than most. The tax collector would not even look up to heaven. With a humble heart, he prayed to God, honestly begging for mercy.
The parable makes it clear that the tax collector left the temple that day “justified” and the Pharisee did not. Both men entered the temple, seeking to be right with God. The point is not the position we have earned in this world; it is the position we take before God.
Are we proud of ourselves when we address God, or are we humbled by his greatness? Do we think we are better than others, or do we realize our place before God?
How will you walk out of worship THIS SUNDAY - knowing you desperately need God’s grace—or proud that you have it?
James wrote, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).