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"Not like the rest of men"

by chaz_lehmann ~ August 18th, 2009

Most times I’ve heard the words of the Pharisee in the lection for Trinity 11 rendered, “I thank you that I am not like other men.”

That’s good as far as it goes but it doesn’t go far enough.  The text actually reads, “I thank you that I am not like the rest of men.”

The Pharisee is setting himself apart.  He is not one of the righteous.  He alone is righteous.  All other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers…  He is setting himself not just as self-righteous, but as the one who alone is righteous.  It’s a much more direct attack on Christ than we usually think of.

What does this mean homiletically?  The one who judges themselves righteous is standing in the place of God.  They are distinguishing themselves from all men.  They are not the exception among those who judge, they are the rule.  This is what we all do.

2 Responses to "Not like the rest of men"

  1. William Weedon

    What a week for this Gospel to come up! I am SO tempted (if things go as expected in Minneapolis) to put up on our sign: "We're the OTHER Lutherans." And then along comes this parable and crushes me for even thinking about it.

  2. Eric Brown

    The thing that has struck me in my preprations is that the very things which he "boasts" of are typical. The typical Jew tithed, the typical devout Jew fasted twice a week. The very things he describes shows that in reality is is exactly like the typical Jew of his day.

    His standards are so low.

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