Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
5. Jesus Gives Four Parables
(Matthew 21:28 - 22:14)

a) The Parable of the Two Sons
(Matthew 21:28-32)
28“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.’29He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went,30Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the Kingdom of God before you.32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. (Matthew7:21, Luke7:29,18:9-14)


In spite of the differences between God and mankind, He loves them as a father loves his sons. The heavenly Father does not differentiate between the good child one and the evil child, but He offers both of them the opportunity to enter the kingdom of His love. God calls you to turn to Him and to believe in His saving Son. What will you do? Will you accept salvation in Christ superficially and continue in your sins if nothing happened on Golgotha? Will you behave like the second son in the parable who said “Yes!” but did not act accordingly?
The primary focus of the parable is to show how sinners and harlots, responded to the call and submitted to the discipline, of John the Baptist, His forerunner. The priests and elders who expected the Messiah and seemed ready to accept Him, slighted John the Baptist and opposed his mission. But the parable has a further application. Although the Gentiles had been children of disobedience for a long time, like the elder son in Titus 3:3-4, they became obedient to the faith when the gospel was preached to them. On the other hand, the Jews who said, “I go, sir,” promised much (Exodus 24:7, Joshua 24:24); but did not go. They only flattered God with their mouths (Psalm 78:36).
Do you look like the first son who rejected God’s grace because he was slothful and a lover of ease rather than a lover of work and toil in the service of God? He probably regretted his hard-heartedness against the calling of God’s love, turned back to himself, repented, and started practical service in thankfulness to God’s fatherhood. Which one of them is better? The one who said “yes” and did not act, or the other one who said “no” but ultimately obeyed? Woe to the hypocrites who seemingly accept Christ but do not carry out His loving command. They talk too much about obligations and prohibitions and do not produce the fruits of godliness. Repenting harlots and thieves are better than a person who pretends godliness and righteousness while in reality is proud and contemptuous to sinners; his sin is greater than that of an imprisoned criminal who reads the Bible with eyes filled with tears of his own wretchedness.
Christ did not reject the Jews. Because He loves them, He gave them an opportunity to come back to Him. They had not yet condemned Him to death at their Sanhedrin, so He invited them to change their minds, to believe, and to accept salvation. Christ’s love never fails. It is offered to those who seem righteous as well as to the evil. How astonishing! Those who seem righteous do not repent, yet the evil turn to the Lord.

Prayer
Father, I thank You for You are my Father, for You accepted me as Your child. Forgive my disobedience, laziness, and hypocrisy, and consecrate me for Your service that I will really worship You joyfully, and willingly serve You as long as I live. I desire to work hard for Your sake, sacrificing my money and strength together with all those who You call into Your kingdom. I want to express my thanks for Your love.
Question
Why was the first son in Jesus’ parable better than his brother?