This is an important story, especially for the “church kid”. This was especially convicting for me when I was much younger because I had the attitude of the self-righteous Pharisee. Jesus told this parable “to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” We must teach our kids that even though they may think they are pretty good compared to other people…if they do not have love and think they are better than others, their faith does not please the LORD. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Two men went to the temple to pray. One was basically praying to himself…bragging that he was not like all of the sinners he knew…even mentioning the tax collector! He boasted that he fasted and gave generous gifts to God while the tax collector stood afar off and could not even lift his eyes to heaven. He smote himself on his chest and begged God to be merciful to him, acknowledging his sins.
Jesus told the listeners of this parable that the tax collector went home justified.”…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Make sure you go over the definitions of righteous, humbles, exalts and justified and merciful. You will also want to explain why the tax collectors were hated in Jewish society. Worksheets and instructions are posted at kidsbible.wordpress.com (10/30/2012)