- Jesus directed this parable to religiously prideful people who looked down on others (18:9).
- The complex around the temple prohibited people from entering reserved sections.
- The religious elite who ran the temple possessed financial and political advantages that complicated their motives.
- Pharisees were an exclusive religious community boasting of superior knowledge and impeccable character.
- Tax collectors were Jewish men swindling money for the Roman government and keeping some for themselves.
- The Pharisee focused on others’ mistakes and personal achievements (18:11-12).
- The tax collector focused on God’s mercy and his personal need for it (18:13).
- The only one who went home justified was the one humbly admitting his need for it (18:14).
- Fixating on the sins of others is the simplest smokescreen to mask your own.
- Claiming to be righteous proves your unrighteousness; declaring yourself unrighteous is necessary to become righteous.
- You won’t receive mercy if you don’t think you require it in the first place.
- You can either humble yourself or wait for God to do it.