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The Parable of 
The Two Sons

Matt 21:28-32 But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ He answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he didn’t go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward, that you might believe him.  (web)

Discussion Questions

Do you have examples from you own life where someone has agreed with you verbally, but only to be "polite" or for whatever reason, but is reality disagreed with you? (The Chinese culture is particularly prone to this)
What are possible reasons the son didn't do his father's will after agreeing to do it?
Why today do people call Jesus Lord but not do his will?
The ones who simply call Jesus Lord, but not do his will, have they entered his kingdom?
What about those who denied Jesus in the past, but now obey him?


Jesus was responding to the religious authorities who questioned his own authority to minister. These religious authorities were like the son who said yes, but didn't actually do the Father's will. Notice that the second son "respectably" answer "Sir, I'll go". But true respect is not seen in word alone, but by obedience. There are many such people even in the Christian community, who while reckoning themselves to be religious and question the validity of the ministry of others, don't seriously question whether they themselves are actually doing what God wants them to do. These behave as obedient sons in name only and are likened to those Jesus had spoken of :
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Mt 7:21
And so he asks:
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"Lu 6:46
In their repenting, the tax collectors and prostitutes were doing God's will. But the religious leaders didn't repond to Jesus nor John the Baptist properly. While thinking of themselves as good, they lacked the necessary humility to respond in repentance. And furthermore their faith was not application oriented, but simply verbal. Even today there are whole churches that don't do much more than make alot of noise. With loud voices they proclaim their love of God, but their behavior may say otherwise.


A man had two sons and said to the one
Go work in the vineyard today my son
But the son at first just wouldn't obey
"I'm not going to work, no not today"
But later he changed his mind and went
Even though before he did not consent
He asked the second son the same
"Sir, I'll go" he did proclaim
But didn't go as he said he would
Though I'm sure he thought himself good.
Which of these two did his father's will
The first one did and the other did nil
Then Jesus spoke to the chief priest
And to the elders missing the feast
Those whom you think don't have a clue
Are entering the kingdom ahead of you
John showed you the way, you haven't believed
But sinners repented, his word they received
And after you saw how they did repent
You didn't really seem to care what he meant

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jan 29,2022