Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, talks about divorce, blesses some children, then shows a rich man he has to love Jesus enough to sell everything to follow Him: Luke 18:9–14;; Mark 10:1–12; Matthew 19:1–12;; Mark 10:13–16; Matthew 19:13–15; Luke 18:15–17; Mark 10:17–31; Matthew 19:16–30; Luke 18:18–30
Were the Pharisees listening when Jesus told this story to some who had ‘great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else’? Again, Jesus focused on true repentance and humility before God rather than having the ability to conform to the rules:
Luke 18:10-14 Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.