Summary of passage: The day after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the temple, Jesus returns to the temple to teach. The chief priests confront him and ask him under whose authority he preaches. Jesus once again answers a question with a question: Where did John’s baptism come from? The elders discussed it and realized they didn’t couldn’t answer the question. Thus, Jesus didn’t answer theirs.
Jesus told a parable instead of two sons, both told to go and work in the vineyard. One said no but later went and the other said yes and didn’t go. Jesus said the ones who initially said no but went will go to heaven for they believe in him. The others never believed.
5a) They asked Jesus who gave him the right to preach.
b) Personal Question. My answer: The leaders were worried what the people would think or do if they answered the question. They were worried they’d be stoned. They weren’t willing to stand up for what they believed in. Fear was more powerful than their faith. They were earthly centered, not God-centered.
6a) They refused to admit who Jesus was, repent, and believe in him. Instead of embracing Jesus, they plotted to murder him.
b) The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been hidden from Jesus’ opponents. They do not understand who Jesus is nor see his miracles. Their hearts are calloused and they do not hear.
c) Personal Question. My answer: I’m not sure if it’s a refusal but it’s hard to apply: speaking positive words in the life of those around me. It’s hard to overcome my ego and stress and selfishness and put others first. It’s hard to get over the distractions in life (see post HERE about distractions) and focus. I would say it’s more of a failure to prioritize than a refusal to apply God’s teachings because I do do this just not consistently. Thus, I must prioritize better and not let distractions creep in.
7a) Unbelievers who later believed.
b) Believers who said they believed but in their hearts they didn’t.
8a) The son who said no but later changed his mind are those converted to Christ, those who were initially hard-hearted but now are God-hearted. The son who said yes but did not actually go to the fields are those who profess Christ but have no heart for him. Those who go through the motions with no feeling whatsoever. Those who want to please man and not God.
b) Personal Question. My answer: The first. I see these as reluctant in the beginning because of the sacrifices Christ-followers make but then go and do His work.
Conclusions: I can almost see Jesus sighing as he once again has to deal with incompetents. He has no patience it seems for hypocrites and those delaying his final days on Earth. He quickly dismisses them with a question he knows they will not answer so that he can continue his work.
Good lesson on those who are too busy pleasing man to please God. What men think don’t matter. It only matters what God thinks.
Do you go when asked? Or will you spend your days pondering if you will, only in the end to never take that final step and lose eternal life?
It’s a matter of doing the right thing, not saying the right thing. Which are you?