And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:…
Observe, from the parable —
I. HOW GOD LOOKS UPON THE HEART, RATHER THAN UPON THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE. It is not the spoken service that is regarded, but the hidden words of the heart.
II. THE INSUFFICIENCY OF MAN'S GOOD WORKS TO OBTAIN JUSTIFICATION.
III. THE WAY OF JUSTIFICATION IS SHOWN IN WHAT WE ARE TOLD OF THE PUBLICAN.
IV. WE SEE WHAT SPIRIT GOD REQUIRES OF AND APPROVES IN US. Not those who are satisfied with themselves are commended of Him, but those who see and deplore their sinfulness. As a bird must first stoop to fly, so must the soul humble itself ere it finds God. "Behold a great wonder," says , "God is high; exalt thyself, He flees from thee: humble thyself, and He stoops to thee." Because, as the Psalmist says, "Though high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly, but the proud He knoweth afar off." So the Pharisee returned from the temple as poor as he came, while the publican, whom he despised, wondering how he dared to come, returned made rich by God's kiss of forgiveness and peace. Little do men know who among them are blessed. God's angels of joy do not always enter where they most naturally are supposed to go.
(A. H. Currier.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
WEB: He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others.