The Parable of The Pharisee and The Tax Collector

Jesus' "Parable of The Pharisee and The Tax Collector" ("The Parable of the Pharisee and The Publican)" from Luke 18. A modern Pharisee, man stands praying while a sinner praying stands at a distance and repents.


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SOLD, 67cm x 50cm (27″ x 20″), Acrylic on Canvas


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