Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector // The Parables of Jesus

Many of the world's famous parables are thousands of years old and have been handed down from generation to generation. There is obviously a reason these stories stick with us, but the original meaning behind any given parable is always in danger of being lost in translation. This is the case with parables outside of Scripture as well as parables that Jesus told. If we lose the cultural context behind these stories, the natural tendency is to turn the characters in parables into caricatures of themselves. That is particularly the case with the parable found in Luke 18:9-14 called "The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector." Since Pharisees and tax collectors are not positions held within our society, it's easy to stand outside the story and experience it from a distance. However, doing so will keep us from being transformed by the parable. The only way to be transformed by a parable is to find one's self in the story, to identify with the characters. What we find when we dig beneath the surface of this particular parable is that it relates to our lives much more than we might have imagined.