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The Two Sons


    PART VIII: THE MISCELLANEOUS PARABLES
 
            CHAPTER 30
 

                             Introduction

             The  Parable  of  the  Two Sons is found only  in  Matthew
         21:28-32.
 
 
 

The Story


                        "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.'

                        "`I  will  not,'  he  answered,  but
                   later  he changed his mind and went.
                        "Then the father went to  the  other
                   son   and   said  the  same  thing.    He
                   answered, `I will, sir,' but he  did  not
                   go.

                      "Which  of  the  two  did  what  his
                   father wanted?"

                        "The first," they answered.
                        Jesus  said to them, "I tell you the
                   truth,  the  tax   collectors   and   the
                   prostitutes  are  entering the kingdom of
                   God ahead of you.  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.    (Matthew
                   21:28-32,  New International Version).

                 In  the 23rd verse of this chapter we see  that
              our  Lord  was asked a question by His adversaries,
              they to  find  accusation  against  Him.    Now  He
              becomes the assailing party, and begins that series
              of parables, in which, as in a  glass,  they  might
              see  themselves.   Yet they are not spoken in words
              of defiance, but of earnest  love--if  possibly  He
              might  save  them  from  the  fearful sin they were
              about to commit. (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES  OF
              OUR LORD, p. 67).

             The chief priests  and  elders  asked  Jesus  a  twofold
         question in verse 23:  "By what authority are you doing these
         things?"  "And who gave you this authority?"   Jesus had just
         had  his  Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, cleansed the Temple
         and healed people.   Children  responded  to  Jesus'  healing
         people  in  the  temple  area  with,  "Hosanna  to the Son of
         David."  "Son of David" was  a  title  of  the  Messiah.  The
         religious leaders did not like it.

            The  word  translated "changed his mind" in verse 29 and
         "repent"  in verse 32 is METAMELOMAI, "regret,'which is found
         five times  in  the  New  Testament.    The  usual  word  for
         repentance  is  METANOEO, "change of mind," which is found 34
         times in the New Testament as a verb and 24 times as a  noun.
         METAMELOMAI  has to do with a single act whereas METANOEO has
         to do with a decision to accept Christ as Savior and Lord and
         follow  God as a lifestyle.  [BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY (Kansas
         City, MO: Beacon Hill Press), MATTHEW, By  Ralph Earle,   pp.
         196  ff.].    [Marvin  R.  Vincent,  WORD  STUDIES IN THE NEW
         TESTAMENT, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans  Publishing
         Co., 1887-1977), 1:116-117].
 


 
                  The Interpretation
             In  this  parable,  the  first  son represented a Jewish
         class of open sinners such as the tax collectors.  The second
         son  represented  the Jewish religious leaders who questioned
         his  authority.   [William Barclay, DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES,
         MATTHEW  (Philadelphia: Westminster  Press,  1958),  pp.  286
         ff.].

            Jesus' purpose  was  to  bring  the  religious   leaders
         to  repentance.    Those  whose  sins  were  outward  readily
         understood  that they were sinners and listened more  quickly
         to  John  the  Baptist  and  Jesus.  Those who were outwardly
         religious and sinful on the inside,  had  deluded  themselves
         with rationalizations and established a "self-righteousness."

            Although this parable applied to the  Jewish  people  in
         Jesus' time, the principle applies to all of us.  We must ALL
         repent, no matter which group of sinners we are in.
 

                                 Central Truth

            REJECTION OF CHRIST IS THE SUPREME TRAGEDY
                BUT THERE IS STILL HOPE THROUGH REPENTANCE
                    

                                  Conclusion

            As believers, let us labor faithfully in the vineyard of
         the Master:
 
                   Let  us  not  become weary in doing good,
                   for at the proper time  we  will  reap  a
                   harvest if we do not give up.  (Galatians

                   6:9, New International Version). .  END