Intro: Preceding our passage for today, the religious elders and leaders once again reveal their spiritual blindness to Jesus when they demand to know by what authority Jesus clears the temple and performs his many miracles. Because they refuse to repent, the leaders cannot understand the Truth of God standing before them. To receive salvation, we must believe in God, repent of our sin, receive the sacrifice of Jesus, and through acts of our faith, welcome the Spirit who helps us become the children of God (John 1:12).
Jesus is the Word or authority of God; therefore, he offends these Jewish leaders when he boldly tells them God’s children are true to their word—they don’t say one thing and do another. To do so reveals hypocrisy. Therefore, these leaders lack integrity and the ability to be forthright. They deny the work of John the Baptist because he proclaims the need for repentance and the arrival of Messiah’s kingdom. These are Words they do not want to believe even though they proclaim to serve God. So, Jesus tells them a parable [a Word story] to help them understand their hearts better.
The authority of Jesus has always been under attack and remains as such, today. People love the idea of Jesus—the loving and indwelling Savior—but we do not necessarily like the way the Word instructs us to live. Most of the time our flesh demands its own way and we find ourselves with a spiritual battle raging within. If we ask God to save us, we need to follow his instructions. And, we need to care about the salvation of others around us.
Matthew 21:28-32 NLT Parable of the Two Sons
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be authentic to your Word and follow in your Way. We do not want to be phony Christians; we want to become the children made in your image. In Jesus’ name. Amen.