Read Matthew 21:28-32
You’ve probably heard someone say, “Actions speak louder than words.” That’s true. At first glance, the “Parable of the Two Sons” seems to stress that principle.
But there’s much more in this parable taught by Jesus during Holy Week, a few days before He was crucified. By now, the air was thick with tension in Jerusalem.
Imagine the scene!
A few days earlier, Jesus had entered the city to the cheers of His adoring fans who wanted to make Him King. Then He cleansed the temple and threw out the money changers. So the religious leaders began to look for ways to trap Him and get rid of this threat to their control.
Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders, so he tells a story about a father who tells his sons to work in his vineyard. One boy says, “I won’t do it,” then later obeys. The other son says, “I will do it,” but then disobeys.
Jesus didn’t always clarify the meaning of His stories, but, in this case, He did. He said to the religious leaders: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.” (Matthew 21:31b – NLT). He couldn’t have made His point more clear!
The emphasis of this story is on the invitation of the Father. First – the story demonstrates how it’s the ultimate invitation. Nothing is more important than the invitation the Father in Heaven gives us to repent of our sins and turn to Him. Eternity always hangs in the balance. You will never consider a more important invitation than the one Jesus gives you to come to Him so that you may have eternal life (John 5:40).
Jesus came into the world because eternity is at stake for every human being. “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10 – NLT). Your eternity depends on how you respond to this ultimate invitation.
The story also reminds us of the universal invitation of the Father. In Jesus’ day, the most despised people were tax collectors (who extorted money from the people) and prostitutes, who demonstrated gross immorality. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were the most respected people of society and were considered examples of what it meant to walk with God.
The point of the story is clear: Both the outwardly righteous and unrighteous are given the same invitation by the Father. The will of God is that men and women from all different backgrounds should repent and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to the glory of God (John 3:16,36; Matthew 11:28-30). It’s a universal invitation that echoes through the pages of scripture: “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!” (Revelation 22:17b- CEV).
Finally, this is an urgent invitation. Years ago, God said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever…” (Genesis 6:3 – NIV). The clock is ticking for every one of us. We will stand before God and give account of our lives to Him (Romans 14:12). The Apostle Paul was clear: “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2b – NIV).
So here’s the question to answer… How have you responded to the Father’s invitation to you? It’s never too late to say yes to God with our words, actions, and life!