Luke 18:14
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) This man went down to his house, justified rather than the other.—The Greek participle is in the perfect, implying a completed and abiding justification. There is something suggestive in the fact that the “house” is made the test in each case. Home-life is the test of the reality and acceptableness of our worship. The Pharisee, in spite of his self-fratulation, betrayed a conscience ill at ease by irritability, harshness, sitting in judgment upon others. The publican, not in spite of his self-condemnation, but by reason of it, went home with a new sense of peace, showing itself in a new gentleness and cheerfulness.

For every one that exalteth himself.—Comp. Note on Luke 14:11. What had there been said, in its bearing on man’s outward life, and as shown by the judgment of men, is here transferred, the law remaining the same, to the higher regions of the spiritual life and to God’s judgment. In both cases there is a needless variation in the English version, the Greek giving the same verb for both “abased” and “humbleth.”

The lessons of the parable force themselves upon every reader. The spirit of religious egotism, however, is not easily exorcised, and we need, perhaps, to be reminded that the temper of the Pharisee may learn to veil itself in the language of the publican, men confessing that they are “miserable sinners,” and resting, with a secret self-satisfaction in the confession; or that, conversely, the publican—i.e., the openly non-religious man—may cease to smite upon his breast, and may come to give God thanks that he is not as the Pharisee.

18:9-14 This parable was to convince some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted; and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified; for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.I tell you - The Pharisees would have said that the first man here was approved. Jesus assures them that they judged erroneously. God judges of this differently from people.

Justified - Accepted or approved of God. The word "justify" means to declare or treat as righteous. In this case it means that in their prayers the one was approved and the other not; the one went down with the favor of God in answer to his petitions, the other not.

For every one ... - See the notes at Luke 14:11.

14. rather than the other—The meaning is, "and not the other"; for the Pharisee was not seeking justification, and felt no need of it. This great law of the Kingdom of God is, in the teaching of Christ, inscribed, as in letters of gold, over its entrance gate. And in how many different forms is it repeated (Ps 138:6; 147:6; Lu 1:53). To be self-emptied, or, "poor in spirit," is the fundamental and indispensable preparation for the reception of the "grace which bringeth salvation": wherever this exists, the "mourning" for it which precedes "comfort" and the earnest "hungerings and thirstings after righteousness" which are rewarded by the "fulness" of it, will, as we see here, be surely found. Such, therefore, and such only, are the justified ones (Job 33:27, 28; Ps 34:18; Isa 57:15). Justified h eceinov, we translate, rather than the other; not that the other was at all justified by God; the other was justified by himself only, and those of his party. The publican was justified by God. It followeth, for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, & c. It is another of our Saviour’s sentences, often made use of by him, Matthew 23:12, and in this Gospel, Luke 14:11. It is applied to the ordinary practice of men, but here to God in the ways of his providence; he resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. The blessed Virgin magnifies God on this account, Luke 1:51,52.

I tell you that this man,.... The publican that so freely owned himself to be a sinner, and by his carriage acknowledged he was unworthy of any favour; and who was treated with so much contempt by the Pharisee:

went down to his house; from the temple which was built on a mountain,

justified, rather than the other: accounted as a righteous person in the sight of God; justified from all his sins, and accepted by him, when the other was abhorred and neglected. The Syriac and Persic versions, and so Beza's most ancient copy, read, "than the Pharisee", who had such an high opinion of himself, and despised others: not that the Pharisee was justified at all, when the publican really was; but the sense is, that if judgment had been to have been made, and sentence passed according to the then conduct and behaviour of both parties, the publican had greatly the advantage, in the sight of God; an humble demeanour being well pleasing and acceptable to him, when pride, and arrogance, boasting of, and trusting in a man's own righteousness, are abhorred by him;

for every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. This was a proverbial expression, often mentioned by Christ on different occasions, and frequently used by the Jews; See Gill on Matthew 23:12 to which may be added the following passages;

"whoever is of a haughty spirit, at last shall be made low (y).''

And again,

"whosoever humbleth himself, the holy blessed God will lift him up (z).''

(y) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 5. 1.((z) Zohar in Lev. fol. 39. 1.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 18:14. δεδικαιωμένος, justified (here only in Gospels), a Pauline word, but not necessarily used in a Pauline sense = pardoned.—παρʼ ἐκεῖνον (ἢ ἐκεῖνος, T.R.), in comparison with that one (the Pharisee). The reading ἢ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος ([143] [144]) would have to be taken as a question—or was that one justified? The publican was the justified man; you would not say the other one was?—ὅτι, etc.: ὅτι introduces a moral maxim which we have met with already at Luke 14:11. It stands here as the ethical basis of “justification”. It is a universal law of the moral world, true both of God and of men, that self-exaltation provokes in others condemnation, and self-humiliation gentle judgment.

[143] cod. Guelpherbytanus II. 5th century (fragments from Luke and John).

[144] cod. Monacensis. 9th or 10th century (fragments of all the Gospels).

14. went down to his house justified rather than the other] Of the Pharisee it might be said, “His soul which is lifted up is not upright in him but of the Tax-gatherer, “the just shall live by his faith,” Habakkuk 2:4. But the day had not yet come in which the words ‘be merciful’ (hilaskou), and ‘justified’ (dedikaiomenos), possessed the deep full meaning which they were soon to acquire (Hebrews 2:17; Romans 3:20). The phrase was not unknown to the Talmud, which says that while the Temple stood, when every Israelite had offered sacrifice, ‘his sin was pardoned and he departed justified.’ The reading of our Greek text ἢ ἐκεῖνος is untenable, though it correctly gives the meaning. The best supported reading is ἢ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος, but it seems to have originated by mistake from παρ ἐκεῖνον. Abp Trench quotes Crashaw’s striking epigram:

“Two went to pray: or rather say

One went to brag, the other to pray;

One stands up close, and treads on high,

Where th’ other dares not send his eye.

One nearer to the altar trod,

The other to the altar’s God.”

every one that exalteth himself] See Luke 14:11. In this Parable, as in that of the Prodigal son, we have the contrast between unrighteousness and self-righteousness.

Luke 18:14. Εἰς τὸν οἶκον, to his house [home]) whether in the parable his house be supposed to have been at Jerusalem, or in that locality where the parable was uttered. Comp. as to returning to one’s own house [Mary], ch. Luke 1:56.—ἤπερ ἐκεῖνος) Otherwise it is read ἢ ἐκεῖνος.[202] In either case μᾶλλον is to be understood, as in ch. Luke 15:7; 1 Corinthians 14:19. The Pharisee was not justified at all; for he ἐταπεινώθη, was abased.

[202] Tisch. reads ἢ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος, with APQXΔ and later Syr. Cyprian and bc have “magis (omitted by b) quam ille Pharisæus.” Lachm. has παρʼ ἐκεὶνον, with BL Memph. Origen. D has μᾶλλον παρʼ αἰκεῖνον τὀν Φαριοαῖον: and so the Syr. Version; a, “præ illum Pharisæum:” Vulg. “ab illo.”—E. and T.

Verse 14. - I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. And the publican was right; there was mercy even for him, all sin-stained though he was. The words with which the Lord closes his teaching are full of comfort. That prayer he tells us was heard and granted. The "I tell you" of Jesus here means, as Stier well puts it, "I tell you, for I know, I have seen, I have heard all this in many such a case, and in many such prayers." With this example of prayer favourably heard, there is surely no sin-burthened soul on earth who may not take courage in seeking God's face. One great object of this parable, we may believe, was to suggest some such thoughts, to embolden sorrowful, heart-broken sinners simply to go to God, trusting in his great pitying love. It should not be forgotten that the publican's prayer was heard in the temple; a silent approval seems given to his having thus sought out the appointed consecrated place of prayer. Luke 18:14
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