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Matthew 21:28-32


28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Although the truth can be avoided for a while, sooner or later it will track you down and force you to look at it. The chief priests and the elders had sought to trap Jesus into an awkward political position by asking Him where He had gotten His authority to do the things that he had done. Jesus, however, turned the trap around and questioned them on the authority of John the Baptist, who was loved by the people as a prophet from God and who had declared Jesus to be the Messiah. Rather than face the truth, they refused to answer and began to make their retreat.

However, Jesus had other plans for them. "What think ye?" He asked, in order to keep them in the discussion. They were not going to get off that easily. He had a parable for them and wanted their opinion on it.

The father of two sons asked the first to go into the vineyard and work. The son refused, but then changed his mind and went to work. This son represents all of the people who had heard the call for repentance, both from John the Baptist and Jesus, and had answered the call. They were people who had been in rebellion against their heavenly Father, but responded positively when they were faced with that truth. They included people from every walk of life, prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, farmers, fishermen etc.

The father also asked the second son to go into the vineyard and work. This second son eagerly agreed to go, but never did. This son represents the religious leaders. They give the impression of righteousness and of doing God's work, but they are also in rebellion. They have all the advantages for understanding and recognizing the truth about their situation, but there is no spirit of repentance in them.

Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders which son they thought was doing the will of his father, and they answered Him correctly. Now the truth had caught up with them, as Jesus explained the parable. They had promised to do the Father's work, but were not doing it. Tax collectors and prostitutes had a better chance of getting into heaven than these hypocrites who had refused to repent.

Our churches are full of them today. They are people who have walked the aisles of our churches and have made professions of faith. They have been baptized and accepted as members of the church. Yet, there has been little change in them. They have not repented of their sins, but continue to live much like the rest of the world. They have not gone into the vineyard to do the Father's work, have never tried to lead a stranger to the Lord, have never sacrificed anything for His service, and are as much in rebellion as they ever were.

Many of them are leaders in the church. They work hard for the small pay that they receive, but their heavenly pay could be beyond their comprehension. They have an air of righteousness about themselves, but they have not repented of their sins and gone into the vineyard. Their works are a valuable for worship and for teaching the gospel, but we cannot call ourselves Christians, if our work is limited to Sunday mornings. I know there is a lot of preparatory work to be done during the week, but there are also many lost persons in our neighborhoods who will never hear that music on Sunday mornings, never hear that well prepared message, because they will never come to church. These are God's vineyard.

Doing the will of the Father is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week commitment. It involves turning our entire lives over to his service, ...not because we can earn our righteousness, but because he has given us His righteousness.

Before The Throne:

In this moment before God, examine your own life. Can you say, "Father, I have faithfully done all that you have asked?" Perhaps the truth will be difficult to handle, but please don't be like the priests and elders who rejected it when Jesus faced them with it. Come to Him and repent. He will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

For Further Study:

** what. Matt 17:25; Matt 22:17; Luke 13:4; 1Cor 10:15; * A certain. Lu 15:11-32; ** Son. Matt 20:5-7; Mark 13:34; 1Cor 15:58;

(v.29) ** I will not. Jer 44:16; Eph 4:17-19; ** he repented. Matt 3:2-8; 2Chr 33:10-19; Isa 1:16-19; Isa 55:6-7; Ezek 18:28-32; Dan 4:34-37; Jonah 3:2, 8-10; Luke 15:17-18; Acts 26:20; 1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:1-13;

(v.30) ** I go. Matt 23:3; Ezek 33:31; Rom 2:17-25; Titus 1:16;

(v.31) ** did. Matt 7:21; Matt 12:50; Ezek 33:11; Luke 15:10; Acts 17:30; 2Pet 3:9; ** The first. 2Sam 12:5-7; Job 15:6; Luke 7:40-42; Luke 19:22; Rom 3:19; ** Verily. Matt 5:18; Matt 6:5; Matt 18:3; ** the publicans. Matt 9:9; Matt 20:16; Luke 7:29, 37-50; Luke 15:1-2; Luke 19:9-10; Rom 5:20; Rom 9:30-33; 1Ti 1:13-16;

(v.32) ** came. Matt 3:1-8; Isa 35:8; Jer 6:16; Luke 3:8-13; 2Pet 2:21; ** and ye believed. Matt 11:18; Luke 7:29-30; John 5:33-36; Acts 13:25-29; ** the publicans. Lu 7:37-50; ** repented. Ps 81:11-12; Zech 7:11-12; John 5:37-40; 2Tim 2:25; Heb 3:12; Heb 6:6-8; Re 2:21;


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