When Jesus and His disciples entered the temple courts, Jesus began teaching (verse 23).
It wasn’t too long before the chief priests and elders came to confront Jesus. They asked Him, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” In others words, who do you think you are and where are your credentials?
Jesus, in all His wisdom, put it back on them as He replied to their question by stating that He would indeed answer their question if they answered His.
Fair enough? If the powerful elite answered Jesus’s one question, He agreed to answer their two! And then Jesus asked, “John’s baptism–where did it come from? Was it heaven, or of human origin?”
And though the religious leaders discussed the answer to Jesus’s question amongst themselves, they refused to answer Jesus. Why? Because they knew their answer would involve grave consequences. Therefore they claimed ignorance. They said that they did not know. Jesus too refused to answer their questions as He had stated earlier.
And since Jesus had captured their attention and the attention of the crowd, He asked them what they thought. Then, He told them a parable about two sons
Jesus started by saying that there was a man who had two sons. And the father went to the first son and asked him to go work in his vineyard. The son refused at first, but later changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the second son and asked the same thing. That son gave his word that he would, but he failed to keep his word and did not go.
Then Jesus asked (verse 31) which of these two sons did as his father wanted? And the crowd answered correctly–it was the first son. Though he did not obey at first, he later repented and turned to do what the father had requested of him. The second son had at first agreed, but failed to produce the fruit of obedience.
Jesus responded to their answer as if holding up a mirror in their faces. He pointed out that the tax-collectors and prostitutes were entering the kingdom of God ahead of them, the religious leaders. Why?
Because they were disobedient to the things of God and had indeed rejected Jesus and refused to repent and believe in Him!
Do you think they were getting it?
It was not religious piousness that Jesus was looking for. He was searching for those who would humble themselves and seek His ways and His help to do it!
Yet those He had chosen refused. So those who offered themselves up in repentance were the ones who would, instead, be included in His kingdom!