2007-12-13 Judge Not

Passage Luke 18:9-14:
Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I dont cheat, I dont sin, and I dont commit adultery. Im certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.

13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner. 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Footnotes:
# Luke 18:11 Some manuscripts read stood and prayed this prayer to himself.


Passage James 4:11-12:
Warning against Judging Others

11 Dont speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters.[a] If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging Gods law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. 12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

Footnotes:
# James 4:11 Greek brothers.


It is shocking– the Pharisee (who follows the letter of the law) is rejected and the tax collector (who exploits people for financial gain) is justified by God.
How can this be?

What are the two characteristics of the people to whom Jesus is telling the parable (v.9)?

What do we learn about the heart of the Pharisee compared to the heart of the tax collector?

What does the Pharisee say about the tax collector?

In what ways do we learn the Pharisee is violating the law of love from James?

If we are honest, most of us must confess that we share a bit of the pride of the Pharisees- thinking we are more righteous than we really are. What warnings do we receive here from Jesus about prideful judgment as opposed to extending Kingdom mercy in humble recognition of our own sinfulness?

[written by Kelly Guy]

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