Parables: The Pharisee and the Publican

To Remember: Remembering our need for God keeps us humble.
  • humble - not proud
  • Pharisee - Jews who observed many extra "laws"
  • publican - a tax collector
Lesson Luke 18:10-14
: any praise song
Describe how people used to demonstrate humility by bowing before each other. Have everyone get down and feel what it is like to bow before someone else. Have them start by simply bowing their heads to each other. Then have them bend over at the waist. Then get down on one knee, then two. Then bend with their heads almost touching the ground. Many scriptures talk about people laying flat on the ground.

We don’t bow much today. Discuss ways we can show genuine humility to each other - not just polite actions.
Life of Jesus Bingo Object Lesson:
Give each student a plain balloon. show students how a deflated balloon is pliable. You can stretch it, wrap it around things, put it inside other things, pull it over smaller things. Then have everyone blow up their balloons. Talk about how it is no longer flexible. It is puffed up now, and can only be one shape. It is only able to be used for certain things.
A puffed up person is not as useful to God as a flexible, pliable, humble person. Humility makes us flexible, useable, and moldable in God's work.
Draw pictures or cut out pictures of things that God has made or done that we can not do.
Worksheet: Hand Out on the Pharisee and the Publican
True or False
  1. God was pleased with both men’s prayers. F
  2. God refused to hear the sinner’s prayer. F
  3. Both men were sinners. T
  4. The Pharisee admitted his sin. F
  5. The publican understood his position before God. T
Humble or Proud (play similar to True and False)

  1. "I did five good deeds today."
  2. "The Lord blessed me with an opportunity to be helpful today."
  3. "I am grateful for the many people who help me."
  4. "My popularity is a great benefit to the Lord."
  5. "I can't think of anything I did wrong today, but I'll ask pray for my sins to be forgiven anyway."
Review Questions (can be used with gameboard)

 linguistic questions
  1. Define humble.
  2. Define prayer.
  3. What is a Pharisee?
  4. What is a Publican?
  activity questions
  1. Lead the group in a short prayer, asking forgiveness for our sins.
  2. Act out the Pharisee and publican.
  3. Draw a picture of the temple.
  emotion questions
  1. How did the Pharisee feel about the publican?
  2. How did the publican feel about himself?
  3. How did God feel about the Pharisee?
  4. How did God feel about the publican?
application questions
  1. Do our good deeds make us good people?
  2. Are we sinners?
  3. Do we have any right to brag before God?
fact questions
  1. Did both men believe in God?
  2. What was the Pharisee thankful for?
  3. What did the publican ask of God?
review questions
  1. Which man was humble?
  2. Which man was proud?
  3. Which man was justified?
Memory Work
  • "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6
  • "Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you." James 4:10
Memory Work:
Re-inflate the balloons. Write the memory verse across the row of balloons. Deflate or pop one at a time as the students read it together until they know the whole verse.