Today’s Bible Reading:
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
23When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”
24“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. 25“Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”
They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. 26But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” 27So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”
And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
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.’ 29The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30Then 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. 32For 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.
Verse of the Day:
Jesus has returned to the Temple after cursing the fig tree. As he began teaching, he is interrupted by the elders and high priests that haven’t been very happy with him – the same ones that already began plotting to kill him. They begin to question his authority and ask who gave him the right to do the things he is doing.
Jesus is not really into answering their questions directly. He wants to take this moment to prove a point to them. It becomes a “you tell me, I’ll tell you” kind of scenario.
The question regarding John the Baptist and his authority was a tricky one, and Jesus totally knew it. They were cornered. I mean really. The best answer they could come up with? “We don’t know.”
Geeez. Come on guys.
Jesus was onto their games.
They couldn’t answer their question, so he didn’t answer his.
And he takes this opportunity to give them one more example of how messed up their lives had become.
The parable of the two sons teaches us this:
- the first son says he will NOT go and work in the vineyard, but he goes anyway.
- the second son says he WILL go and work, but didn’t go.
What’s the point?
The first son is like sinners being totally disobedient to God. They resist the calling of God completely. But sometimes sinners change their minds, right? We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Some of us have even told Him a flat out, NO! But, by the grace of God, we’re given a chance to change our minds and go to work for the Kingdom.
The second son is truly respectful face to face with his father. He tells the father everything he wants to hear. “Yes, sir, I will.” BUT – here’s the key: he had no intention of going. It’s like those that say one thing and do another. I wonder if God would prefer we just say no instead of lying to His face?
Then, for the kicker. The elders and high priests ACTUALLY get it – they do. They understand that the first son is the one that did the will of the father. But, I don’t think they saw what was coming next…
The tax collectors and prostitutes: THEY are like the first son. They are getting into the kingdom of God.
You guys – the elders and high priests: YOU are like the second son. They professed to know God and to do His will – but they didn’t. John tried to tell them. But they didn’t listen.
Wonder what it felt like to get that kind of lesson thrown in your face? Did they consider a change of heart? Or did they become angry?
What does Jesus want us to take from this parable? I think it would be something along the lines of how our words need to line up with our actions. It’s easy to talk the talk, but do we walk the walk?
I desperately need God to help me on a daily basis to keep my words and to do the right thing when it comes to my Christian character. This can truly be a struggle, right? Even the high priests missed the mark.
God, help us all to learn from your words and teachings. Help make this real in our lives as we study and meditate on your Word. Let our yes be yes and our no be no. Find us worthy of joining you in the kingdom of Heaven. Until that day, strengthen us and give us wisdom in our words and actions