A son in the vineyard

Jesus was busy teaching people in the temple when the chief priests and elders of the people came to Him and asked: “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matt. 21:23). They asked it because they did not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus then said:

“There was once a man who had two sons. He went to the older one and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ ‘I don’t want to,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. ‘Yes, sir,’ he answered, but he did not go. Which one of the two did what his father wanted?’ “The older one,” they answered. So Jesus said to them, “I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you. For John the Baptist came to you showing you the right path to take, and you would not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him” (Matt. 21:28-32).

All agreed that the son who indeed went to work in the vineyard did the will of his father. We see that Jesus told this story while they were busy arguing whether Jesus taught the people with the authority of God. The question was actually about: “Who is Jesus? Is He the Son of God?” Jesus then says to them that the prostitutes and tax collectors, rather than they, would enter the kingdom of God. Why? Because the prostitutes and tax collectors believed in Jesus as the Son of God while the chief priests didn’t want to believe it. The chief priests did indeed believe that the Messiah (Jesus) would come, but when He came they didn’t believe Him. It was like the son who said that he would go and work, but didn’t. He didn’t do the will of the father. The prostitutes and tax collectors never took notice of the Messiah who would come, but when He came they believed in Him and thus did the will of God. It is actually tragic that the chief priests, who strive so much to live properly before God by faithfully obeying the laws, had to hear that they hadn’t done what God wanted. They also had to hear that the tax collectors and prostitutes, whom they despised, would precede them into the kingdom of God because they believed in Jesus. Do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God? It is the essence of the gospel. If we don’t believe that, we are already condemned: God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. … No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son (John 3:16-18).

If we don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but believe that we’ll enter the kingdom of God if only we are good as a person, we miss the entire gospel. Then we have no respect for God’s plan to redeem us which was prophesied centuries before Jesus came. Jesus took our sins upon him, He was sacrificed for our sins on the cross.

The gospel is the good news: God came to us in his Son Jesus to save us. Thereby God now becomes our father. Let us never doubt who Jesus is.

Lord Jesus, thank you that we can know that You are the Son of God and that You came to reconcile us to God. Amen


Gert Berning

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