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Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 18
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 17:20, 18:15, 18:21-22, 24:23-28, 12:37-41, Mark 13:21-23, Luke 17:3-37, 18:1-14

Jesus teaches about forgiveness, faith, and the sin of self-righteousness. He speaks of the kingdom of God which began with His first coming and will be fulfilled when He comes again. He tells about the nature of God's kingdom and who will be included in it.

The end of this lesson marks a natural break in the gospel story before Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem and the Passion narrative. The last six questions are a review of Jesus' most important teachings so far.

1. What is the proper action to take if someone sins against you? (See Matthew 18:15, 21-22, Luke 17:3-4, Leviticus 19:17-18.)

2. Do you think you could move a mountain or uproot a large tree if you had "faith the size of a [tiny] mustard seed"? (See Matthew 17:20, Luke 17:5-6.)

3. What did Jesus say about self-righteousness in Luke 17:7-10? (See Job 22:2-3; Romans 11:33-35.)

4. In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one, a despised foreigner of a different religion, returned to thank Him. The other nine, who were among God's Chosen People of Israel, did not express any gratitude for the huge favor they had received.
a) What is the lesson of this story? (See Matthew 28:19, Galatians 3:26-28, 6:3-5, Ephesians 2:11-13.)
b) In what ways do we tend to act as if we deserve God's favor more than people of other nations and beliefs?

5. The Pharisees imagined the coming of the kingdom of God would be a political and military event that would free Israel from foreign rule and restore its former glory. So, they asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come (Luke 17:20-21). What two things did Jesus say about the kingdom of God in response to this misunderstanding?

6. Jesus said many false messiahs would come and try to deceive people. How can we recognize the true second coming of Jesus when it happens? (See Matthew 24:23-41, Mark 13:21-23, Luke 17:20-37.)

7. In first century Israel, Pharisees were the paragons of respectability. They strictly observed all the laws of Judaism including fasting, tithing and prayer. Tax collectors were Jews who worked for the occupying Roman forces to collect taxes for the Roman Empire. They were often dishonest and collected more than was required, keeping the extra for themselves. Tax collectors were considered the worst of sinners and were among the most despised people in Israel.
a) In the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14), it is the tax collector, not the Pharisee, who finds favor with God. Why?
b) Do you ever find yourself committing the same sin as the Pharisee in the parable?

8. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on the kingdom of God? (See Lesson 3 # 2-4; Lesson 6 # 5; Lesson 10 # 4-11; Lesson 16 # 2-4, 6.)

9. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on ethics and morality? (See Lesson 4 # 1-2, 6-8, 10, 12-15; Lesson 5 # 2, 14-15; Lesson 6 # 4; Lesson 7 # 7; Lesson 11 # 12.)

10. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on wealth? (See Lesson 4 # 3; Lesson 5 # 10; Lesson 17 # 4-6, 9-10.)

11. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on hypocrisy vs. true religion? (See Lesson 4 # 5; Lesson 5 # 1; Lesson 7 # 6; Lesson 8 # 8; Lesson 9 # 2-3, 9-10; Lesson 11 # 11; Lesson 12 # 3-5, 9; Lesson 14 # 3-5; Lesson 15 # 3-4, 6; Lesson 18 # 7.)

12. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on prayer? (See Lesson 5 # 3-8, 13; Lesson 6 # 2; Lesson 14 # 7-8.)

13. From what we have learned so far, how would you summarize Jesus' teachings on humility? (See Lesson 13 # 1-2, 8-12; Lesson 16 # 6.)

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