New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:10 publican. See note on Luke 5:29.
18:12 fast twice. The practice of outward piety—even such self-denying exercises as fasting and tithing—is not the means of earning credit with God. Note that even when the Pharisee prayed, he prayed “with himself” (Luke 18:11), using the first person pronoun five times in his brief prayer.
18:13 be merciful. Actually, the publican’s prayer asked that God “be propitiated to me, the sinner.” The word used referred to the mercy seat; he was confessing his sin and need of forgiveness, trusting in the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat for atonement. This repentant faith was sufficient to secure his being “justified,” “declared righteous” before God (Luke 18:14). The Pharisee, on the other hand, prayed “with himself,” rather than God, merely congratulating himself on his own self-righteousness, and thus received no forgiveness. If nothing else, he was filled with the sin of pride—perhaps the worst sin of all, since it was the sin of the devil (I Timothy 3:6).