Luke 18:11-15

Luke 18:11 (KJB)
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Here is the typical Pharisee who prays to God about all his wonderful attributes and then compares himself to the poor sinful publican. He then revels in the fact that he is not of the low caliber that this publican was because the publican was a tax collector and probably he had kept a large amount for himself. In ancient Rome, if you were a tax collector, they gave you a certain amount of taxes to collect and once you made that quota, they didn’t care how much you pilfered from the people. This is why tax collectors were hated back then. The Pharisee was proud that he wasn’t like that publican. He was telling God in a prayer how good he was. However, in this instance, the Bible teaches us that that kind of praying, is not to God but to himself. He sang the praises of himself to himself. He tried to gain the favor of God by using “manipulative praying.”

Let us not look at this Pharisee and condemn him for what he did because Christians use this technique many times, and when they do, they are praying to themselves. Remember, there is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl 1:10 KJV) Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. What do I mean by manipulative praying? It is the effort of the Christian to bypass the written word of God and pray for or against something that God has already revealed in His word. If God makes a declaration of something in Scripture and the Christian doesn’t like it, they just bypass it and do what they want, simply because they have made a few prayers and think that justified their actions. The most dangerous type of sin in the believer’s life is the “justified sin.”

Luke 18:12 (KJB)
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Normally the Pharisees fasted on Monday and Thursdays. (Mat 9:14 KJV) Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? Then they gave tithes of everything. (Mat 23:23 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. They had even tithed right down to the most minute details. They even tithed herbs but that tithing was condemned by Jesus because they tithed to offset their neglect of having a merciful outlook toward people. Again, how easy it is to cloak evil in religion.

Luke 18:13 (KJB)
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

While the Pharisee was lauding himself and his works, the publican was concerned about his sin. His eyes were open to the fact that he was a sinner before God and did not even lift his eyes to Heaven because of his sin and even struck his breast in deference to God because he now recognized his sin. (Isa 6:5 KJV) Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah also had that experience of being in the presence of God and seeing how unclean he really was. The publican knew he was sinful and now wanted to repent of that sin. He would also have known how much he stole over the years from his people. When God begins to convict us, it is then we realize how sinful we are in comparison to a holy God. The publican asked God to be merciful to him realizing that he was just a sinner.

Luke 18:14 (KJB)
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Jesus then tells His hearers that the publican was the one who went back to his house justified, that is, he became saved. The Pharisee was still lost in his sins and went back to his house as lost as he was when he arrived at the temple. It is a shame that this same situation exists in the majority of churches today. People come to church and hear jokes and stories from the pulpit and they go home as unsaved as they did when they arrive. Then Jesus assures His listeners of a major principle. Those who exalt themselves such as the Pharisee did because he thought that he was the superior class, will be abased. The word “abased” carries with it the meaning of “humbled, degraded, or reduced to a low estate.” When they stand before the Lord on Judgment day, they will find out their works were as evil as the people they condemned and they will be humbled by an eternity in hell for their sinful lifestyles. (Luke 13:28 KJV) There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Then on the other hand, those who humble themselves will be exalted. Those who have dealt with their own pride and humbled themselves, will in time, be exalted. Those who have become saved have been humbled because they are under the authority of God and are His children. The born again Christian is seen as the bane of society and the world hates them but someday the world is going to see the body of Christ exalted from the humbled position they held on earth.

Luke 18:15 (KJB)
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

It was a custom for parents to bring their children to the scribes and elders of the synagogue to receive a blessing from them. Therefore, those that brought their children to Jesus had held Him to be a Rabbi. The children were probably very young and had to be carried into the house. The Luke account states they were infants. The disciples had rebuked those who had the little children. Maybe the disciples tried to stop it was because they were learning from Jesus and did not want to be interrupted. This is a strange occurrence because to the Jews children were considered a blessing of God and God’s favor. Whatever the reason was as to why the disciples rebuked the parents with the children remains unknown.