28“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’29The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway.30Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31“Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”
Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.32For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Look at the passage before this. Jesus is still speaking directly to the chief priests and Pharisees here. Jesus is directly challenging the people he knows will soon sentence him to death. And while he is confronting them, he is calling them to repentance. We don’t really know who hears his call and who doesn’t, but he is calling them. Imagine the heart of God. Could you try to bring to heaven people you know want you dead? That is exactly the type of heart we are called to have.
And this is not a “beating around the bush” confrontation. Jesus is direct, but polite. He is not screaming or calling them names, but he is clear. I am alway very uncomfortable with direct confrontation. Perhaps this is a personal call to me to be direct, but loving and respectful. Is it a call to you also? Does it say something else to you?
And lastly, see how Jesus points out that the important and popular religious leaders missed John’s call but the social outcasts “got it”. In our younger years in school I’ll bet we all wanted to be part of the “in crowd” or the popular cliques. Now where do you want to be? Where are you? Is God where you are?
Lord, please put these two lessons in my heart: Help me to be much more direct with people, but to do it with love and respect, even with those who despise me. And Jesus, make me long so much more to be where You are, even if it is not popular. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*