The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector is a lesson on what it takes to enter the kingdom of God. The Pharisee thought it was hard-won righteousness through devotion to religious and spiritual duties that would impress God. The Tax Collector wasn’t sure how to approach God on the situation, so he humbled himself and asked for mercy. We learn from the outcome of the parable that the mercy of God is always the way in, not any kind of personal righteousness.
- Why did Jesus use the Pharisee and the Tax Collector as characters in the story?
- Can you identify or relate to any of the characteristics of both?
- How do you understand righteousness? Justification? Discuss.
- The Pharisee “stood by himself” in the temple to avoid being guilty by association. In what ways have you witnessed or experienced this?
- The Pharisee was quick to compare himself to the tax collector. Why might he have done this?
- How does comparing yourself to others keep you from God’s mercy?
- How does “trusting God and others with me” equate to humility?
- How might you define humility in the context of this parable?
- Have you ever found yourself trusting in your spiritual progress (righteousness)? What did this look like?
- What might it look like for you to begin to trust in God’s mercy for justification?
- Study Galatians 5 in light of this parable. What strikes you about the connection between righteousness, justification, and freedom?
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Do you have a question about today’s sermon? Email Kyle Holtzhower (Kyle@StAndrews.Church)
The outline and application questions are intended for your further reflection and action upon the weekend message. They are also designed to facilitate discussion and accountability within your LifeGroup.