Story of Two Sons: Matthew 21:28-32
““28) But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ 29) And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. 30) The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 31) Which of the two did the will of his father?” They *said, “The first.” Jesus *said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32) For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” Matthew‬ ‭21‬:‭28‬-‭32‬
This is an interesting story. Some translations have the order of the sons reversed, but the results were the same.
Stories of two sons were common in the teachings of Jesus. (See also Luke 15:11-32 and the Prodigal son) Some try to read the Jewish nation and the Gentiles into the story. There could be a general application, but it might be more basic.
I see both stories presenting our Heavenly Father as the God of the second chance. They present great hope to all who have fallen into sin and strayed. God receives all His children who have a change of heart and return to Him in sincerity and truth.
The repentant sinners are more genuine than those who are outwardly religious but inwardly lost. Such was the case of the chief priests and elders of the people who were the recipients of this story. (See Matthew 21:23)
I can imagine the dagger that pierced them when Jesus said; “Truly I say to you that many tax-gathers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.” They were the ones who consented to follow God but instead used religion as a veneer to serve their flesh. They looked good on the outside, but were sinful and corrupt on the inside. They were also in need of repentance.
Jesus offers salvation to all people. We all need a change of heart and willingness to follow and obey Jesus. We need to be born-again. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is Lord of the second chance.
Salvation includes a change of heart and a change of direction in life. We set sin and self aside and begin to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We call this “repentance.”
This story also extends grace to those who once followed and then turned away. Like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son, He runs to meet every child that humbly returns to Him. Maybe that is your call today!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global