The Parables of Jesus
Matthew 21:28-32

Parable of Two Sons

Matthew 21:23-32
  23. And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him
        as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this
        authority?
  24. And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like
        wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
  25. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves,
        saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
  26. But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
  27. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by
        what authority I do these things.
  28. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to
        day in my vineyard.
  29. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
  30. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
  31. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them,
        Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
  32. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and
        the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe
        him.

Introduction
  As you may have noticed, I began reading several verses before the parable actually started. I do so,
  so that we might understand to whom and why Jesus told this parable. The actual parable begins with
  verse twenty-eight but we will begin with verse twenty-three.

Verse 23 - And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him
  as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this
  authority?
 
  [A] Here in verse twenty-three we find Jesus confronted again by those in power over the religious
          community in Jerusalem
          [1] We look at these men as troublemakers, and as being jealous of Jesus – but was that the entire
                  reason they were constantly testing him, or was there more?
          [2] I want you to consider for a moment what Jesus was up against in his teaching
                  [a] Israel had been a nation for hundreds of years.
                  [b] The people of Israel had been living under the law for over a thousand years.
                  [c] Here was a man, claiming to be the messiah, who had come to town, teaching something entirely different
                          than they were taught, and had been living for such a long time.
                  [d] The claim of Christ being the long awaited messiah was not a new claim. Others had made the claim that
                          they were the messiah before Jesus came on the scene, just as others have claimed to be him, since
                          he was here.
                  [e] These things made it very hard for the leaders and the people to believe that Jesus was whom he
                          claimed to be.
          [3] What signs and evidence did Jesus show to prove he was whom he claimed to be?
                
  Luke 7:19-22
                  19. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come?
                        or look we for another?
                  20. When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he
                        that should come? or look we for another?
                  21. And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many
                        that were blind he gave sight.
                  22. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard;
                        how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the
                        poor the gospel is preached.
          [4] I want you to notice also that Jesus did not hide his teaching, he went to the temple and taught there

  [B] Although this was the only evidence Jesus gave to John and should have been enough evidence for the Priest and
          the leaders of the people they questioned where his power came from, and by whose authority he did his
          miracles.

Verse 24 - And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell
  you by what authority I do these things.

  [A] I love the way Jesus answered their questions, by asking them a question

  [B] Why do you think he didn’t just say his authority came from God
          [1] It should have been evident,
          [2] They as the leaders of the religious community should have recognized him

Verse 25 - The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we
  shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

  [A] John the Baptist came on the scene doing something that had never been done before, and teaching something
          entirely new to the people, a one time baptism for the cleansing of their sins

  [B] If the leaders said from God, Jesus would ask them why they did not believe him
 
Verse 26 - But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
 
  [A] If they say from men, the people might revolt,

Verse 27 - And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I
  do these things.

  [A] Knowing they were trapped, they replied, we don’t know

  [B] Than in answer to their previous question, Jesus said, neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things

  [C] Why did he not answer their question and tell them?
          [1] He wanted man to believe in him by faith
          [2] If they could not see what he was doing and know where it came from, his telling them would make no
                  difference

Verse 28 - But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my
  vineyard.

  [A] First lets determine what and whom these represent
          [1] A Certain man
                  [a] The man referred to here represents the Lord
          [2] The two sons
                  [a] The first son represents the sinner refusing to do the will of God
                  [b] The second son represents the religious leaders of Israel who professed to be doing the will of God but
                          refused to follow the teaching of the Lord
          [3] The Vineyard
                  [a] The work of the Lord all man is expected to do, Go ye therefore

  [B] The Lord went to the first son and said,
          [1] Go out this day and work in my vineyard
          [2] Christ calls each if us, asking us to become a part of his kingdom and to do work in his vineyard

Verse 29 - He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

  [A] The first son, answered his father and said he would not go.
          [1] This had been the answer of the wicked men refusing to follow Jesus
          [2] This is the answer we hear often from the wicked today, from those who do not understand nor want to commit
                  themselves to following Jesus

  [B] Afterwards he repented
          [1] After stewing over what his father asked him to do, the son repented and went out to do his fathers work
          [2] This is where persistence and prayer come in. Just because someone says no to Jesus the first time, does not
                  mean we should quit. Some need a little time for the Holy Spirit to work on them, and cause a change in them

Verse 30 - And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

  [A] The Lord asked the second son, the one who was religious, the one who was supposed to know what to do, and he
          agreed to go.
          [1] Symbolically this represents those in the church today who become a member of a church, but show no
                  growth and refuse be a witness or testify for Jesus
          [2] This also could be described as those who have head knowledge but nothing in their heart

  [B] He went not
          [1] When one accepts Jesus Christ, and becomes a part of the body of Christ, he or she has certain
                  responsibilities placed upon them
          [2] What do I mean when I say certain responsibilities?
                  [a] They are to change – convert
                  [b] They are to grow
                  [c] They are to become a light in the world for Jesus
                  [d] They are to become a Christian example for others to see and to follow

Verse 31 - Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say
  unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

  [A] Jesus than asked which of the two did the will of the father, the one who refused than repented and went, or the
          one who said he would go than didn’t go?

  [B] They answered
          [1] The first did
          [2] Even thought he had refused to start with, he repented and then did as he was asked to do.


  [C] Than Jesus said the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you
          [1] I would have loved to have seen their faces when he said this
                  [a] There were probably some who was surprised
                  [b] There were probably some who got angry
          [2] It was pretty obvious that Jesus was referring to them and they knew it

Verse 32 - For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots
  believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
 
  [A] Then Jesus explains his reasoning
          [1] John came to you in the way of righteousness
          [2] John came teaching the right way
          [3] He came teaching the way to be righteous; which comes by repentance.        

  [B] Ye believed him not
          [1] Just like what Jesus was teaching. The religious leaders did not believe John
          [2] Although his teaching was what the Old testament – the bible of the Jews taught, they refused to believe what
                  he said

  [C] The publicans and the harlots believed him
          [1] The publicans and harlots represent all sinner,
          [2] It was they who flocked to John seeking a better life and acceptance
                  [a] John taught repentance,
                  [b] John taught forgiveness for one’s sins
                  [c] John taught the cleansing of ones heart and life and the giving of a second chance to do it right
          [3] The law
                  [a] Taught strict adherence to the letter
                  [b] Dissociation from a person who had sinned
                  [c] The having of only one chance
          [4] What John taught showed the sinners they had a chance they never thought they had
                  [a] Those sinners repented and changed their lives
                  [b] Those sinners realized they needed to change and get things right with God.

  [D] The religious leaders heard the same things the sinners had yet they did not change
          [1] They were the religious leaders
          [2] They thought they had all the answers
          [3] They told others when they had sinned, no-one had the right to tell them they were a sinner

  [E] Whereas the sinners repented, the religious leaders did not, therefore they were as big as sinner afterwards as
          they were before.