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The Pharisee and Tax Collector


We need to be humble when praying, and then God will be able to use us in His work.


Luke 18:10-17.


Praying at the Temple:

Jesus met many people who were confident of their own self righteousness and as a result looked down on everybody else.  So He told a parable about two men who went to the temple to pray.  One was a Pharisee and the other was a Tax Collector.

Pharisees were Jews who observed many extra "laws" and pretended to be better than everyone else.  Tax Collectors were regarded by the Pharisees and religious leaders as "sinners".

Are we all sinners?  (Let the children respond).  Yes, we are all sinners and need Jesus to forgive our sins.

The Two Prayers:

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, who are robbers, evildoers, and unfaithful to their wives, or even like this Tax Collector!  I fast (go without food) twice a week and I give a tenth of all I get."

But the Tax Collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, for I am a sinner."

Jesus told the people that the Tax Collector went back to his house with God's approval and with his sins forgiven.  But not the Pharisee!  God would not listen to his prayer because he would not humble himself before God and admit that he was a sinner."

Jesus said, "For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled (made low), and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (made high)."

Jesus Blesses Children:

At this time, people were also bringing babies and young children to Jesus to have Him lay His hands on them and bless them.  When the disciples saw this, they rebuked the people.

But Jesus called the children to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Being Humble:

Proud people are puffed up and full of themselves and their own importance.  God would not accept the Pharisee's prayer for this reason.  The Pharisee never realised that there is nothing we can do to make ourselves right in the eyes of God.

When Jesus blessed the children, He showed us that we need to be humble like a little child when we speak to God.  To be humble means to be modest and not to think too highly about yourself.  It is only by confessing that we are sinners like the Tax Collector, and then asking for God's forgiveness and grace (unmerited favour), that can we be be made right in God's eyes.

Usable to God:

When you ask Jesus to come into your heart, He changes you inside so that you want to love and serve God.  And being humble makes us useable and mouldable so that God can use us in His work.

I hope you will be humble and ask God to use you in His work to reach out and bless other children, so that many will come to Jesus and accept Him as their Lord and Saviour!

God bless.


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