Modern Retellings Of The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector


One of Jesus’ most famous parables is The Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14. In this parable, Jesus addressed those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (v. 9). To illustrate the folly of trusting in one’s self, Jesus contrasted two men who went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee (the religious elites of the day) and the other a tax collector (the supposed great sinners of the day).
.
The Pharisee trusted in himself, thinking that he was righteous because of what he did for God, all the while looking down on the tax collector (vv. 11-12). On the other hand, the tax collector was justified before God because he relied, not on himself, but on the merciful, righteousness of God (v. 13). Jesus concluded by stating that the tax collector “went to his house justified, rather than the other” (v. 14a) The reason for this is because, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14b).
 .
To help us see how we can so easily express the same attitude as the Pharisee, I have written several retellings of the The Pharisee and the Tax Collector set in modern terms and situations. It is my hope, that these will challenge you to examine your heart as they have mine.
.

The Fit, Athletic Woman and the Slightly, Overweight Woman

Two women go the grocery store to do their weekly shopping, one the fit, athletic type with a normal BMI and the other who was slightly overweight.

As the two women waited in line to check-out, the fit, athletic woman prayed, “God, I thank you that I’m not like other women, lazy, unhealthy, poor homemakers, or even like this fat woman in front of me. I work out three times a week; I take care of Your temple by carefully watching what I eat; and I only feed my family good healthy foods.”

But the woman who was slightly overweight, humbly prayed, “God, thank You for all that You provide for me and my family. We don’t deserve it.”

I tell you this woman went to her house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts herself will be humbled, but the one who humbles herself will be exalted.

The Man with the Older Truck and the Man with the Newer Truck

Two men stop at a red-light, one in an older model, high-mileage Chevrolet truck, the other in a brand-new, Ford F-250 Super Duty, Crew Cab truck.

As the two men waited for the light to turn green, the man in the older model, high-mileage truck prayed to himself, “God, I thank you that I’m not like other men, materialistic, covetous, showoffs, or even like this man in the lane beside me. I’ve worked hard to earn what I’ve got; I’ve never wanted to be rich; and I don’t act like I’m better than anybody else.”

But the man in the new truck, humbly prayed, “God, thank You for all that You have richly blessed me with. I don’t deserve it.”

I tell you, this man went to work justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

The Home-School Mom and the Public-School Mom

Two moms take their children to the park to play, one a home-schooling mom, the other, a public-school mom.

As the two women watched their children play together, the home-schooling mom prayed, “God, I thank you that I’m not like other women, selfish, unfit mothers, poor homemakers or even like this woman who ships her kids off to public school. I raise my own kids; I protect them from worldly influences; and I ensure that my kids have a godly, Bible-based education.”

But the public-school mom, humbly prayed, “God thank you for my children. Please help me be a godly mother.”

I tell you, this mom went home justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts herself will be humbled, but the one who humbles herself will be exalted.

The Professed Christian and the Effeminate Looking Man

Two men go to a fast-food restaurant for lunch, one a professed Christian, the other an effeminate looking man.

As the two men ate their lunch, the Christian prayed, “God I thank you that I’m not like other men, irreligious, sexually immoral, or even like that gay-looking guy over there. I’m a born-again Christian; I go to church 3 times a week; and I publicly uphold marriage to be between one man and one woman.”

But the effeminate looking man quietly prayed to himself, “God, have mercy on me a sinner. Please lead me in Your ways.”

I tell you, this man left the church service justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

The Dressed-Down Christian and the Dressed-Up Christian

Two Christian men go to church and sat on same pew, one a younger, dressed-downed Christian, the other an older, dressed-up Christian.

As the two men sat on the same pew, the younger, dressed-down Christian prayed, “God I thank you that I’m not other Christ followers, ritualistic, traditionalist, or even like this guy sitting on the other end. I’m authentic; I’m sold out for You; and I don’t put on a facade by dressing-up to worship You.”

But the older, dressed-up Christian quietly prayed to himself, “God, I’m not perfect. I have failed Thee often. In Your steadfastness, have mercy on me a sinner.”

I tell you, this man left the church service justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

 
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Modern Retellings Of The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s