Matt 21:28-32: "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.'29 "He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 "Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. 31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to Him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 "For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”
Jesus used this parable to illustrate the hypocrisy that the religious leaders of the day exhibited. The scenario that Jesus told to the Chief Priests and elders was about two sons. One son did not do what the Father asked him to do, but later regretting not obeying the Fathers request, he went and did exactly what his father told him to do. The other son however, said that he would do the thing the Father asked, but he lied and refused to obey his Fathers request. Jesus asked the question, “Who did the will of his Father?” The crowd answered the one who eventually obeyed. Jesus was comparing the two different sons to the type of people that were in the crowds.
When God calls us to Himself, there is always a choice to be made. We are either secure in our own righteousness and feel we do not need God, or we realize that we need God so much because we cannot make it through this world by our own power. The problem with the religious men of the day was they thought they had it all figured out. They knew all the answers and no one was going to tell them any different. They were going to be the final authority, and it did not matter who they walked over and who
they oppressed by their hard, compassionless, dogmatic hearts. They we feeling mighty cozy in their righteousness, and they thought everyone else to be less then they themselves were.
Jesus, in His illustration says that the lowest of the low, tax
collectors and harlots, will enter the kingdom before the religious. The sinner who truly sees his sin as a conflict to God and recognizes that his sin is keeping him apart from God, is the person that Jesus sees as humble and is able to use Him. It is through humility and a broken heart that one can truly see the grace that God offers.
Old Testament: Exod. 27-28 New Testament Matt 21:23-46