What are the lessons for us in the Biblical parable of the pharisee and the publican?

In the Jewish socio-religious culture, in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ, the pharisees epitomized the niceties of the Jewish religion. They carried themselves with arrogance and a looking down on others with a claim to superior knowledge of the Mosaic dispensation. Among the publicans could be found tax collectors, toll collectors, law enforcers and the like.

And so the Lord told us that a pharisee and a publican went to pray. The pharisee called the attention of the Creator to his own personal uniqueness and spiritual superiority as compared with the publican who also came to pray at the same time. Their meeting was presumably coincidental and in keeping with pharisaic conceit and haughtiness, he had to derisively make reference to the publican’s unworthiness before the Creator as he prayed.

The first lesson here is for us to see the vanity that self-satisfaction and self-glorification amounts to. When we fail to have a humble self-assessment, we simply derail in life notwithstanding our gifts, our talents, our abilities, our social standing and so on and so forth. We truly derail because just as the heavens are infinitely distant from the earth, so is the wisdom God sublimely far from human judgment. “Judge not so that ye be not judged” was the admonition of the Lord as to remind ourselves that God alone sees the beginning, the present and the end at a glance, whereas the human being can only see what is around him.

The Lord wanted us to take a cue from the stance of the publican. While the publican prayed, he heard the words of condemnation from the pharisee and instead of that discouraging him or having him walk out of the temple hopeless rather he found himself, within himself, the right inner attitude with which we must always approach the Throne of Grace. An unassuming approach before the Throne of God is the only right attitude whenever we want to pray. And even beyond that, an unassuming predisposition in reflective humility helps in strengthening and fortifying the Christian life.

Let us always keep at the back of our minds the injunction of the Lord – “Judge not”. With this, we will always have access to the grace of God that helps us to pass by vain human condemnation.

Click here to download the audio

The explanation given in this article is based on the author’s understanding of the Work “In The Light of Truth”, The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin.
The reader is hereby invited to personally examine this Work. Copies of the Work can be obtained from any of the addresses listed here.

You may also contact us if you have a question.

If you found this article useful, consider telling someone else about it: