And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:…
I. THE AIM OF THE PARABLE.
1. Stated (ver. 9).
2. Suggestive —
(1) That self-righteousness is possible.
(2) That self-righteousness and contempt for others are closely allied.
(3) That self-righteousness grows from the root of self-deception.
(a) The self-righteous calls upon a heart-searching God.
(b) The self-righteous despise men.
II. NOTICEABLE FEATURES OF THE PARABLE.
1. The contrasted characters.
(1) The prayer of the Pharisee.
(a) There is thanksgiving — but is it gratitude to God?
(b) There is reference to personal excellencies before God — but is it in humility?
(c) Thus prayer may be a mockery, and therefore a sin.
(2) The prayer of the publican.
(a) There is keen remorse — but not despair.
(b) There is deep awe in God's presence — but an appeal to His mercy.
(c) Thus, the most agonizing prayer may be heartfelt and believing.
III. THE LORD'S COMMENT ON THE PARABLE.
1. The self-exalting prayer of the Pharisee He condemns.
2. The contrite petition of the publican He approves.
3. The reality of answers to prayer He affirms.
4. Christ here enunciates a solemn truth (ver. 14).Lessons:
1. Conformity to religions forms no proof of true piety.
2. True penitence ever seen in self-abasement.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: