Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
That is a bad way to be. They were glorifying their own evil hearts above others. Who is better than another, but by the grace of God? We in Christ are in a better place, but we are commanded to love others and bring as many as will come to Jesus. We are to be humble grateful servants.
Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
A Pharisee was a religious leader all dressed in beautiful robes, feared and respected by men. A publican was a despised tax collector, hated by men.
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
His focus was on his own righteousness by doing religious things. Jesus rebuked these men.
Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Mat 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Mat 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Mat 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Mat 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
Mat 23:30 And say, If we had been in the days of ourfathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Mat 23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
He had the right response. We seek the mercy of God, for all have sinned.
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.
Our work is one of love and self denial. Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Die to self and live in the Spirit of Christ. Never are we to exalt ourselves above another, as if we are better than they.
Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: