A Study in Contrasts

In Jesus' parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector, he warns against self-righteousness by juxtaposing two people, one of whom (the Pharisee) was righteous in the eyes of the world, and the other of whom (the tax collector) was not. Yet, in contrasting their attitudes and prayers, Jesus teaches that the tax collector was justified before God by his humble faith, while the Pharisee stood condemned because of his self-righteous pride. This morning we examine several of the contrasts that differentiated the prayer of the tax collector from the prayer of the Pharisee, culminating with the most important distinction: that while the Pharisee trusted in his own merits, the tax collector trusted in God's mercy alone for salvation.