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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Parable of the Two Sons

Parable of the Two Sons
Matthew 21:28-31

This parable is only in the book of Matthew, which was written for the Jews. This parable and two others -- the Wicked Vinedressers and the Wedding Feast --were spoken by Jesus during His final week in Jerusalem. All three of these parables were addressed to the religious leaders of Israel.
Jesus had just cursed the unfruitful tree in Matthew 21:19.
It was the time of Passover when millions of Jews come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus was in the Temple courts teaching when the Chief Priests and elders were questioning His authority. They wanted to know by what authority Jesus did the things He did and who gave Him that authority. As the religious leaders and spiritual watchmen of Israel, they had the right to ask this question. They wanted Jesus to say that He was the Messiah so they could accuse Him of blasphemy.
The Chief Priests and the Elders were the “Teachers” of the Law. So they are challenging Jesus about what authority He had to teach the truths He was teaching the people. Jesus would use this parable to convict them of their religious piety and their hearts that were far away from God and His ways. These religious leaders liked their position of power and authority over the people. Jesus threatened their position and their power and authority.
Jesus knew their hearts. Jesus would take them back to the ministry of John the Baptist. Jesus answers them with a question in Matthew 21:25. “The Baptism of John, from where was it? From Heaven, or of men?” And they reasoned with themselves saying, if we say from heaven, He will say to us, “Why did you not then believe him? “But if we say of men, we fear the people; for all hold John as a Prophet.” Matthew 21:25 -26 Instead of listening to John the Baptist, these religious leaders permitted Herod to arrest John and kill him. If these religious leaders would not accept the authority of John who was a prophet sent by God; they would surely not accept the authority of Jesus to whom John’s ministry pointed! Both Jesus and John the Baptist were under the same authority -- God’s. If they rejected the Truth spoken through John, they would reject the Truth spoken through Jesus.
The Jewish religious leaders were always trying to trap Jesus, but He trapped them with His question. Whatever way they answered would trap them. Jesus turned their own ways back onto their own heads. If they admitted that John was the predicted forerunner of Christ, then they would have to believe that Jesus is their Messiah. And if they said that it was from man, the people would be upset because they believed that John the Baptist was a messenger of God. Some of them had even been baptized by John, repented and accepted Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So, these religious leaders were between a rock and a hard place!
And they answered Jesus, and said, “We don’t know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Jesus knew that they knew because He knows the thoughts and intents of every heart. These leaders were not honest with Jesus. Jesus is Truth and only deals in honesty. Jesus will not reveal Himself to those who are liars and manipulators! It was also not yet His time to be revealed.
Jesus then speaks the parable of the two sons. This particular parable is the first of three parables--two about a vineyard and the third about a wedding feast. All three parables were addressed to the religious leaders of Israel.
A vineyard is a place that produces fruit. Again Jesus begins with a question.
Matthew 21:28-31: “What do you think? A certain man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
Jesus previously had asked them a question about John the Baptist. Now He asks another question. The “certain man” is the Lord. The work in the vineyard represents the work for the Kingdom of God. The two sons represent the sinner who first refuses Jesus and then has a change of heart and is responsive to the Lord’s Word vs the self-righteous, arrogant and prideful who are non-responsive. The first son said “no” but then repented and went to work in the father’s vineyard. He was called, but was self-willed and refused at first. Then he repented. His repentance was followed by obedience. [Article continues. Click here to read full article in PDF format...→]

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