Matthew 21:28-32 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”
He’s after sinners. I know, this is not a novel concept. Everyone who has spent much time at all in the Bible knows that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). He clearly stated that he came not for the well (or at least the perceived to be so), but for the sick (Matthew 9:12). This parable of Jesus illustrates that concept well.
Note that it is the son who outwardly appears rebellious who ends up being obedient. To the contrary the son who outwardly appears to be obedient ends up being rebellious. This is often true. Many who are religious feel entitled and as if God owes them something. As a result they slack off where they should be diligent. In fact, many who say the right things with their mouths have all the wrong things in their hearts. Conversely, many who say the wrong things with their mouths will eventually repent and do the right things, proving that their hearts have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus.
God isn’t impressed by your ability to sing about him, talk about him, or spew on about his Holy Word if obedience doesn’t mark your life. It’s the one who obeys who proves he has life in Christ, even if he starts out on rough ground. It doesn’t matter when in life a person starts obeying Jesus either. The reward is the same. He tells us so in Matthew 20:1-16. Jesus is our reward both now and for eternity. Those who know him revel in him both today and forever.
The good news is that if you are a total rebel who has been running from God and even hostile towards him, you are exactly the kind of person Jesus is after. It’s never too late to obey, even when you said for a long time that you never would. Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead to make it possible for you to turn from your sins and be saved. He’s after sinners who don’t have it all together. He’s after you.
May each person who interacts with this post end up as an obedient son rather than a disobedient one who says the right things. Life is too short to waste it on playing games when we’ve been offered the real thing.
About the author: Nick Tarter is a CrossOver Online contributor, a pastor at City Life Church in Bethany, OK, and a Church Planting Strategist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He is an avid Jeeper, outdoors enthusiast, sports nut, and family man who loves the church, the Bible, and is passionate about theology. Nick holds a Bachelor’s in Humanities and Philosophy from UCO in Edmond, OK and a Masters in Theology from Liberty University.