And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:…
In the old tombs of our cathedrals — in this cathedral three centuries ago — there were frequently two figures on the monuments, one of the deceased king, or knight, or bishop, resting above in his full robes of state as he wore them abroad in life, and another, beneath, of a thin, emaciated skeleton, which recalled to the eyes of the beholder the realities of the grave below. It is well, Christian brethren, to have in thought this double image of ourselves — what we are before the world, if we like, but, in any case, what we are before our God. It was the Pharisee's misery that he thought only of how he looked to others. It was the publican's blessing that he cared only for what he was before the eyes of God. Let us struggle, let us pray, while yet we may, for a real knowledge of ourselves. Let us endeavour to keep an account of that inward history which belongs to each one of us, and which will be fully unravelled at the Judgment — to which every day that passes adds its something — of which God knows all. To do this may take trouble, but the result is worth a vast deal of trouble. Anything is better, in religious matters, than that which St. Paul calls "beating the air" — an aimless religion which moves perpetually in a vicious circle, because it has no compass — because it has no object. The more we know of God, the more we shall have reason to be dissatisfied with self — the more earnest will be our cry for help and mercy to Jesus Christ, who took our nature upon Him, and who died upon the cross that He might save the lost, that He might save us. There is no real reason for anxiety if we will but come to Him simply with broken hearts. Now, as in the old time, "He filleth the hungry with good things, but the rich He hath sent empty away." The Pharisee and the publican stand before Him in the ranks of His Church from age to age. They are, in fact, eternal types of human character, and to the end of time, the world's judgment between them is falsified, and this man — the publican — goes down to that last home which awaits us all, justified, rather than the other.
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.