August 24, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 21:32 NIV
32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Our verse of the day is the concluding verse of the Parable of the Two Sons which Jesus put to the Pharisees and elders. The parable in its entirety is:
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
This is a parable Jesus used to have the Pharisees condemn themselves. As we read, they answered, The first. In so answering they did indeed condemn themselves for as the Benson Commentary tells us The spirit and conduct of the second son was an exact picture of the temper and behaviour of the Pharisees; for in their prayers and praises they gave God the most honourable titles, and professed the greatest readiness and zeal in his service: but it was a bare profession, contradicted by all their actions. These were the same men who could not, would not, answer Jesus’ question about John’s baptism – Was it from heaven or was it of human origin?
Jesus made His point about their behavior even clearer as He replied to their answer. He spoke of tax collectors (hated) and prostitutes (obvious sinners) who were more open to His message and that of John the Baptist. They knew their condition and the need for forgiveness and repentance. Yet the Pharisees and elders could not see their own need for the same. The sinners who knew they were sinners believed Him, changed their lives and obeyed the gospel though, like many of us, at first said they would not.
It mattered not to the Pharisees, the elders, and the scribes how people were changed. Or even how the blind were given sight, how the crippled could now walk, how lepers were made clean, how even the dead were raised. None of that mattered, they would not believe. They had no faith. Benson’s Commentary says about Jesus message to the Pharisees and those around them in His last verse, And therefore I solemnly warn you, (for so his words imply,) that your condition will hereafter be worse than theirs; and that you shall see those whom you now despise and abhor, entering into the glory from which you shall be excluded.
Thus, our Verse of the Day, John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him, was a grim warning for those who did not have the faith to believe which would have led them to repent. Meyer’s NT Commentary says in this parable Jesus now assumes the offensive in order to convince His adversaries of their own baseness or sordidness. Sadly few seemed to listen and understand.
As Christians, we look all around us and see people who are not listening, are not paying attention, living as if they will forever, or living as if there will never be any judgment. At least that is how it seems to us, but Jesus’ parable here tells us something different. It is the sinners, perhaps the worst of them, who will come first to Jesus. And it is those who see no need of Jesus as they live a life of self-righteousness who are most likely to ignore their need of forgiveness and repentance.
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9-11, Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (emphasis added) Pray for those you consider to be the most lost. Christ will welcome them with open arms.