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  • Writer's pictureJenny

That's Why Jesus told this Parable?!

Jesus told the chief priests and the elders of the people the parable of the two sons who were asked to go work in the vineyard, (one said 'I don't want to", but later changed his mind, and one said yes, but then didn't go). He asked the leaders, "Who obeyed?" And apparently, they answered correctly, but why did Jesus tell them this? I had never made the connection before and was really surprised when his meaning came together for me last week.

The Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)

“But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work in the vineyard today.’

“He answered, ‘I don’t want to!’ Yet later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing.

“‘I will, sir,’ he answered. But he didn’t go.

“Which of the two did his father’s will?”

“The first,” they said.

Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him, but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him."

I was studying the Bosnian Bible, learning new vocabulary as I deciphered the text, and it hit me. How many times have I read this passage, but never really understood the connection? I did understand that Jesus said tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the kingdom of God before the Pharisees, because they had believed John (the Baptist), but the leaders didn't believe. Okay, so I thought that was all it meant. Belief or unbelief. But then, why the parable? Why did Jesus tell it? The first son in the story sounds like a rebellious teenager, or maybe a two year old, "I don't want to!" But then the son relented and thought better about the choice, and actually did the work the father wanted.

The part I had not connected was that Jesus said, "but you, when you saw it, didn't even change your minds then and believe him." It clicked that he was referring to the parable of the son who thought better about it all later, changed his mind, and did it. I think it was because the other translation I had been reading previously used the word "repent" which had a different connotation to me. Maybe it's not as amazing to you, but I was surprised and thrilled to finally make the connection! So, that's why Jesus told this parable.

The son thought about it and changed his mind. Have you, when something happened, after some contemplation, made a turn-around in your thinking? Jesus wanted them (and us) to think, and think again. While they were at home, away from the group discussion and herd-mentality, thinking about all that Jesus had said and done, maybe someone would conclude that he was indeed the Messiah John said he was. Jesus had just admonished the Pharisees in Matthew 19:4, "Haven't you read...?" Seems to me that he was expecting more reflection in the great minds of the nation. Are WE thinking? Do we even have time alone to think? Are we considering what the Father says and desires? It's not what we say with our mouths, but how our hearts and actions change. Are we willing to DO it?

I shouldn't be so quick to make up my mind, taking time to think, considering all aspects. "Come, let us reason together," Isaiah says in chapter 1:18. Study the Bible and think again. Maybe we need to change our mind, turn around, and do what the Father asks. Believe Jesus - the Author of Life.


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