“He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others . . .”
The chief trait of this Pharisee was the idea that he did not need God. A modern equivalent would be the person who, with his imagination and personal experience, has fabricated both a god and a religious system by which he is acceptable to his god. The Pharisees did just that. They picked out certain verses from Scripture to form what they thought God was like, then based upon that, they established behaviors they believed He would accept. The result was a group of self-righteous men who looked down upon others and rejected Christ. In contrast, we find a man who has lived a compromising life. While externally he seems to be the one whom God would reject, he is accepted because he came to God, not on his own terms, but on God’s.
The lesson is very clear. It will be those who humble themselves, confess their sin, and come to God through Christ, who will be accepted by Him.
Don’t be like the Pharisees who rejected Him because they thought they were good enough.