140. The two sons- Matt. 21:28-32
-Jesus paints a realistic picture of how people react to the message of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness using the illustration of the two sons. One began with a defiant attitude and said he would not go to work in his father’s vineyard, but he later regretted his rebellion and went and obeyed his father’s request. The other son said all the right things in the beginning with a yes sir, but he did not ever actually go and do the work in the vineyard. He lied and did not follow through on his promise before his father to pursue his will. Jesus summed it all up by saying that the tax collectors (this has significance to the writer Matthew here since he had been a tax collector himself) and prostitutes would enter the Kingdom of God before the chief priests and elders of the people (the supposed wise and spiritual leaders of the culture). He then denounced their unwillingness to believe John’s message or even feel any remorse about their plight even when they could plainly hear and see the call, whereas the tax collectors and prostitutes did and received forgiveness because of their repentance and faith (Matthew 21:32). *Application* It’s not how you start, but how you finish in the Kingdom of God. No matter what you may have done, God gives us all a chance to confess and return to Him in repentance and faith. No one is too far gone! Check out: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzHgEhF4Qac)
Verse to Memorize- Matthew 21:32
141. The wicked husbandmen- Matt. 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19
-Jesus now lays it all on the line in a parable that revealed the anti-Christ spirit of the religious leaders, which even went back to the prophets who revealed the Word of God in ages past. He compares them to rented laborers in a vineyard who were to keep the garden upright and productive. The owner went on a long journey (this depicts the distance between God holiness in Heaven and the activities on this sinful earth) and in time of harvest sent his slaves (doulos, servants, those under His command, i.e. the prophets of God) to receive his produce. They were treated harshly by rejection, beatings, stonings, and killings again and again. Afterward, he reasoned that he would send his beloved son who would surely be received, respected, and honored as an heir to the family. However, the wicked husbandmen conspired against him in an effort to seize the inheritance (a false, selfish, and wordly kingdom of this earth in Israel by the religious establishment). They took the son and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him (Matthew 21:39). The question is then asked by Jesus, what will the owner of the vineyard do when he comes to these hired vine-growers? The reply was that these wretched men will come to a wretched end and be cast out for others who are more worthy and will honor the owner. The scribes, chief priests, and Pharisees understood that Jesus was speaking of them and exclaimed, “May it never be (Luke 20:16)!” But Jesus cited Psalm 118:22-23 prophetically and added that he who falls (from pipto which also means: collapse, become invalid, be destroyed) on this stone (the chief corner stone) will be broken to pieces, and on whomever it falls (the Jewish people who trust in their leaders), it will scatter them like dust (the Jewish diaspora which happened shortly after Christ’s era basically continued until 1948 when Israel became a nation again). When the religious leaders ascertained that He was speaking of them, they sought to seize Jesus, but they feared the people because of Jesus’ popularity and their belief that He was a prophet. *Application* This remarkable parable should warn us to pay attention to the visitations of the LORD and not rely on religious leaders who have their own agendas and worldly purposes. How easy it is to be deceived and this is why Jesus’ parable is in the Scriptures in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He wants us to be centered on Him as the Chief Corner Stone and Heir to eternal life as God’s One and Only Son. Don’t be scattered like dust yourself in this age of false teaching (2 Timothy 3:1-17; 4:3-4).
Verse to Memorize- Matthew 21:42