Tag Archives: Pharisee

Sunday Morning 07/23 (Unit 22, Session 5: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector)

Jesus was making His way to Jerusalem—the place where everything written about the Son of Man would be accomplished. (See Luke 18:31-33.) Jesus moved between towns and villages, teaching Pharisees and scribes, tax collectors and sinners, and His own disciples along the way. Luke 18:9-14 describes a parable Jesus told to a specific group: “to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else” (Luke 18:9).

The parable presents two men who went up to the temple complex to pray. The first, a Pharisee, was proud and believed he was righteous because of his own deeds. He stood up and prayed, thanking God that he was not as sinful as other people.

The second, a tax collector, humbly acknowledged his sin and asked God for mercy. Jesus explained that the tax collector—and not the Pharisee—went home justified.

The tax collector knew he needed God to forgive him, and he cried out to God. Everyone is a sinner who needs forgiveness. Jesus took the punishment for our sin by dying on the cross. We can cry out to God like the tax collector and because of Jesus, God will forgive us.

As you talk with your kids, explain that God rejects the proud but gives grace to the humble. (See Jas. 4:6.) The sin of pride keeps us from Jesus. Pride is thinking we are better than we really are. Someone with the attitude of the Pharisee sees no need for Jesus. The Pharisee focused on sins he had avoided rather than confessing his sin, but the tax collector knew he had no standing before a righteous God. He asked for mercy, and God was merciful to him.

God did not look at the Pharisee—nor does He ever look at us—and say, “Wow, that’s impressive.” God sees us for who we really are: sinners in need of forgiveness. Jesus took the punishment for our sin by dying on the cross. God wants everyone to be saved (see 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), and we can come to Him with nothing but empty hands of faith. We can cry out to God like the tax collector and because of Jesus, God will forgive us.

22.5.2

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus told stories about God.
    • Jesus told a story about people needing God’s forgiveness.
    • The tax collector asked God to forgive him.
    • God forgives us through His Son, Jesus.
  • Preschool
    • Why did Jesus tell stories? Jesus told stories to teach people about God.
    • Jesus taught about being humble.
  • Kids
    • Why did Jesus tell parables? Jesus told parables to teach people about God and His kingdom.
    • God rejects the proud but gives grace to the humble.

 UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Mark 6:34

 NEXT WEEK

  • “The Wicked Tenants” (Matthew 21:33-45)

 

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Sunday Morning 9/7 (Unit 25, Session 1: Jesus Met Nicodemus)

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Over the next four weeks, kids are going to learn about Jesus’ early ministry. In today’s Bible story, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin—a Jewish governing body—visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus was part of an exclusive group of religious elite. Nicodemus believed that if a person was a law-abiding Jew, then he would be accepted by God. Jesus turned this belief system on its head.

Jesus’ words perplexed Nicodemus: “Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). For a moment, Nicodemus actually wondered if Jesus was saying that someone must crawl back into the womb! Jesus explained that spiritual birth is not unlike physical birth: a person cannot do it himself. It is something that happens to him.

Jesus reminded Nicodemus of the Old Testament account of the disobedient Israelites and the bronze snake. The Israelites could not help themselves, but when they trusted in God and looked to the bronze snake lifted up on the pole, they were healed. (Num. 21:4-9)

Every person is born a sinner. It is by God’s Spirit—not our own effort—that we are born again. Without Jesus, we are spiritually dead. Sin separates us from God. When people believe in Christ and are “born again,” they receive new life and become God’s children. Jesus offers new life to those who trust in Him for salvation.

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