The Parable of The Pharisee and The Tax Collector

Jesus' "Parable of The Pharisee and Tax Collector" ("The Parable of the Pharisee and Publican)" from Luke 18.


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$200 AUD ($210 USD), 67cm x 50cm (27″ x 20″), Acrylic on Can­vas, Framed


“To some who were con­fi­dent of their own right­eous­ness and looked down on every­body else, Jesus told this para­ble: ‘Two men went up to the tem­ple to pray, one a Phar­isee [a mem­ber of a very reli­gious but often hyp­o­crit­i­cal group of Jews in Jesus’ day] and the other a tax col­lec­tor [a stereo­typ­i­cal noto­ri­ous ‘sin­ner’ of Jesus’ day]. The Phar­isee stood up and prayed about him­self: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evil­do­ers, adulterers–or even like this tax col­lec­tor. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

But the tax col­lec­tor stood at a dis­tance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home jus­ti­fied before God. For every­one who exalts him­self will be hum­bled, and he who hum­bles him­self will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9–14)

Many of us wrongly assume that we can earn favor from God by doing good works. That’s why this para­ble of Jesus comes as a shock to most of us. The Bible con­sis­tently teaches us that God is pleased when we acknowl­edge and turn from our sin­ful state and look to Jesus in faith to save us from our sins. (See “Mes­sage”.) I have painted this para­ble in a mod­ern church set­ting because it’s just as rel­e­vant to us today as it was back then.

“…know that a man is not jus­ti­fied [put into right stand­ing with God] by observ­ing the law [doing good works], but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Gala­tians 2:16)

“But now the right­eous­ness of God has been revealed inde­pen­dently IandI alto­gether apart from the Law, although actu­ally it is attested by the Law and the Prophets, Namely, the right­eous­ness of God which comes by believ­ing with per­sonal trust and con­fi­dent reliance on Jesus Christ (the Mes­siah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no dis­tinc­tion, Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

[All] are jus­ti­fied and made upright and in right stand­ing with God, freely and gra­tu­itously by His grace (His unmer­ited favor and mercy), through the redemp­tion which is [pro­vided] in Christ Jesus, Whom God put for­ward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and pro­pi­ti­a­tion by His blood [the cleans­ing and life-giving sac­ri­fice of atone­ment and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, to be received] through faith.” (Romans 3:21–25 AMP)

(See also “Believer’s Road Series: Equal At The Foot of The Cross, Equally in Need of Mercy”, “Events of The Bible Series: God’s Free Gift of For­give­ness”, “Events of The Bible Series: For­given Much”, “Believer’s Road Series: Unwor­thy, But That’s the Grace of God”, “Believer’s Road Series: Empty Hands” and “The Gospel Series”)