Friday, March 6, 2015

Lesson - The Pharisee And The Publican

VERSES:  Luke 18:9-14

MEMORY VERSE:   Luke 18:13   "...God be merciful to me, a sinner."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   1 Chronicles.  Write "1 Chronicles" on small slips of paper and hand out to the students before they leave class. Encourage them to take their papers home and memorize these 11 books of the Old Testament.

PRAYER:  Pray that we will always be humble in God's sight and never exalt ourselves.

SPECIAL SONG:   Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him). 

VISUAL AID:   TV Box (see February 2014 - Visual Aid #1 for instructions and guides.)


  • Jesus always knows our hearts and even the intentions of our hearts. There were certain people who trusted not in God, but in themselves. There are many people like that today. They think that they know more and better than God. These same people also thought much less of others. They would exalt themselves and put everyone else down which was a very selfish and conceited thing to do. Jesus knew what these kind of people thought, so He told them a parable.
  • Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and one was a publican. We remember that a Pharisee was a Jew with power and a publican was a tax collector who had few friends.
  • The Pharisee stood up to pray and noticed a publican praying far away. The Pharisee prayed with a self-righteous heart. He thought he was better than other people and so he thanked God that he was not like other men like extortioners (people who stole money), or the unjust people (who were unrighteous and did bad things), adulterers (people who are married, yet still have girlfriends and boyfriends), and then he looked over at the publican and added "or even as this publican" to his prayer. That wasn't very nice! He thought he was better than the publican and prayed to God that he wasn't like him! He went on to list all of the wonderful things he had done like fasting twice a week and giving money to God.
  • But when the publican prayed, he was very humble. He would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but hit himself on the chest and said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus said that the publican went to his house justified because everyone who exalts himself or thinks that they are better than other people shall be brought down; and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
  • All through the Bible, God has always treasured meek and humble men like Moses. There are many verses in God's Word that says to be humble and not to think that you are better than everyone else. When a person thinks like that, they think like a Pharisee!

"Older Student" Tips:

  • Read James 4:10. Is it good to be humble?
  • Read Philippians 2:8. Was Jesus humble?
  • Read 1 Peter 5:5, 6. Is it ever good to be arrogant and proud?
  • Read Romans 12:16. Should we be conceited? How does it make us feel when others treat us like they are better than we are?

ACTIVITY:  The Pharisee and the Publican
Materials needed:  9" x 12" blue construction paper, two 4" x 6" rectangles of brown construction paper, two 2.5" x 6" rectangles of white paper, two 3" x 3" red construction papers, 8 to 10 1/2" x 4" strips of white paper, glue, scissors, marker, crayons.

  1. Hand out blue paper.
  2. Write "The Pharisee and the Publican" and "Luke 18:9-14" at the top of the blue paper.
  3. Hand out two brown rectangles.
  4. With each brown paper, fold all edges 1/2".
  5. Within each squared corner of the brown papers, fold a small diagonal to resemble picture frames. The frames' edges should not touch the blue paper, only the back of the brown papers. These are the picture frames.
  6. Hand out two white rectangles.
  7. Draw and color the Pharisee in one white rectangle. 
  8. Write "Pharisee" above the Pharisee's picture on white paper.
  9. Draw and color the publican in one white rectangle. 
  10. Write "publican" above the publican'e picture on white paper.
  11. Glue each man in the middle of their own picture frame.
  12. Glue the backs of each picture frame and place below the title.
  13. Hand out red squares.
  14. On one red square, write "What the Pharisee said and did".
  15. On the other red square write "What the publican said and did."
  16. Gently glue bottom and both sides' edges of each red square.
  17. Place appropriate red square below each picture frame.
  18. Hand out white strips.
  19. On each white strip, write one of the sentences below:

    • God, be merciful to me a sinner.
    • He would not lift his eyes to heaven.
    • He hit his own chest.
    • Thank you that I am not like other men.
    • I thank you that I am not like this man.
    • I fast twice a week.
    • I give tithes. 
    • This man was justified.
    • He exalted himself.
    • He humbled himself.
The way it works:  The student shuffles all of his or her white strips. They read the strip aloud and place the it in the red pocket under the correct man's picture, showing that that particular man said or did what is written on each white strip. To see if the student is correct, they must open their Bible to Luke 18:9-14 and read the verses to see if their answer is correct.