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Parable of the reluctant and unwilling son.

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Matthew 21:28-32
28But what do you think? A man had two sons; and he came to the first and said, Son, go work in my vineyard today. 29He answered and said, I will not. But afterwards he repented and went. 30And he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you that the tax-collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax-collectors and the harlots believed him. And when you had seen it, you did not repent afterwards so that you might believe him.
  • The setting of this parable is after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He went into the temple and was questioned by the chief priests, scribes and the elders as to by what authority He did these things, Matthew 21:23. This was just days before the crucifixion and His audience was the religious folk of the day who wished to find a way to destroy Him.
  • Jesus having a heart for all men and wishing that no not one should perish, 2nd Peter 3:9. Was still reaching out to this group of people through speaking parables that would touch their soul, if only they would listen and take His Words to heart.
  • From the parable of the sower we know that the field is the kingdom of God, this is something that most religious folk strive for and want.
  • The first son was asked to work and said; "No, I will not", this is an image of the Pharisees. Their heart was against doing the work, but later, perhaps out of guilt, obligation, or duty of keeping of the law, they turned and went. The second son, answered; "Yes, I will go", his heart was to do the work, but he did not go, perhaps he did not have the stamina and perseverance for doing the work, was distracted by the things of the world or was simply lazy.
  • Jesus then asked these religious folk of the day, which son did the will of the father, they answered the first, for they were judging according to the works that were done. God is concerned with matters of our heart, rather than our accomplishments. It is not about our works or the service that we perform, (they are as filthy rags, to the Lord), Isaiah 64:6. We are only found acceptable to the Father through our belief in Jesus Christ, His Word and His righteousness.
  • It is not about who makes the biggest church and the service we do for God, all of this is secondary. It it first and foremost about our relationship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Praise God, that all of us can come into a closer relationship with Him, the only variable is: is it our hearts desire.