Lord, you are rich in mercy and lavish in your care of me. Your great name be praised.
Read MATTHEW 21:28–32
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat convinced you to believe the good news of what God has done in Jesus? How do you praise him for his gracious intervention in your life?
Having already disarmed deceit, here is the wisdom of God at work to disclose the truth. By feigning ignorance in response to Jesus’ question concerning John’s baptism (21:27), the chief priests and elders had attempted to conceal their rejection of John in order to ‘save face’ among the people. Knowing this, Jesus invites their judgment on the matter of two fictional sons who respond differently to their father’s request to go and work in the family vineyard. In contrast to their previous reticence, the religious leaders declare instantly which son they believe to be in the right (v 31). In doing so, they show themselves to be in the wrong regarding John (v 32) – and, by extension, to Jesus also.
Contrary to their own expectations, it is not the chief priests and elders who are represented by the son whom they judge to have done the father’s will in Jesus’ story. It is tax collectors and prostitutes (v 31)! When it came to recognizing what God was doing and getting on board with it, the religious leaders were lagging far behind those whom they considered farthest from God (v 32). This, of course, could never happen today in our churches, could it?
How can you ensure that your own desire to be discerning about claims of God’s activity in the world does not translate into unbelief?
Merciful One, I learn from this passage that doing is more important than saying. By the Spirit, empower me to be a doer of your will rather than just a big talker.
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