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Bible verses about Parable of the Two Sons
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 21:28-32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These five verses are a parable, not to the disciples, but to the chief priests and elders of the people, whose heritage or fine credentials alone would not give them the right to continue to rule. He tells the story of a son who says he will work and then does not as opposed to a son who says he will not but repents and does his father's wishes. The former son is the leadership of Israel who agreed to the covenant but rejected it. The latter son is the publicans and harlots whose lives were sinful but who were willing to repent. Similarly, in I Corinthians 1:26-31, Paul attests that Christ will build His church through the weak and base, not the ones men think should be first.

Staff
Who Are the 'Guests at the Wedding'?


 

Matthew 21:28-32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Matthew 21:28-32 contains the story of two sons, one who said he would not do the work his father asked of him, yet did, and another who promised to work, but did not.

Jesus may have taken the theme of this parable from Isaiah 5:1-7, which some commentators call "The Song of the Vineyard." God pictures Israel and Judah as a vineyard. He does all He can for them, planting, protecting, and feeding them, but instead of the vineyard producing wonderful grapes, it produces wild grapes that are good for nothing. The reason: His people will not listen to Him. They promise to obey and give the appearance of belonging to Him, but they will not really work at it. Thus, they do not produce what God expected.

Who are the characters in the Parable of the Two Sons? The father is God. The first son, who flatly refuses to work in the vineyard, represents the weak, foolish, and base of this world (see I Corinthians 1:26-27). The second son, who promises to work yet never shows up, represents hypocrites, those who appear or profess one way but act another. The work the father asks them to do corresponds to living God's way of life.

The first son, who answers, "I will not," gives a carnal answer from a carnal mind. This is the mind all of us had before God called us out of the world. His answer displays no hypocrisy because he sincerely did not want to come under God's authority. He is guilty of bold rebellion.

The second son, who says, "I go," makes a promise that he never fulfills—and possibly never intends to fulfill. His word contradicts his performance. While his father is present, he conceals his determination to disobey; he is a liar. As Jesus says in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" This son's guilt combines deception with disobedience.

In the parable both sons hear and respond verbally to their father's command, one negatively, one positively. The one who promises to obey but never follows through is just as guilty as if he had refused from the first. Though his promise to work may make him look good on the surface, his father will never accept his act of disobedience.

At this point, we have no reason to prefer one above the other; both are guilty of sin. However, their ultimate actions prove them different. After his blunt refusal, the first son repents of his sin and goes to work for his father. He sets his heart to do what his father wants. Though he promptly promises, the second son fails to perform. The first changes from bad to good, but the second does not change at all—if he makes any change, he goes from bad to worse!

Toward the end of the parable, Jesus poses the question: "Which of the two did the will of his father?" The obvious answer is he who repented and went to work. Then Jesus tells the Pharisees that the tax collectors and harlots would go in to His Kingdom before them because these blatant sinners believed and repented, while the "religious" people did not.

The warning to us is not to be a son who promises to work, then neglects to keep his word. God has called us, and we have accepted that calling, promising we would work. Now we must perform what we have promised.

We are living in the Laodicean era of God's church, and the effect of this is that many are letting down. Many are not faithfully keeping God's commandments and are neglecting His Sabbath and holy days. Church attendance is sporadic. Tithing is erratic. Too many have lost their zeal for God and His way of life, and they are veering away from the path to the Kingdom.

For many, things are going well, as they are indeed "rich and increased with goods" by this world's standards. Somehow, we equate this as God's approval, but God may well be patiently letting out rope so that we will either hang on to what God has given us or hang ourselves.

John O. Reid
Giving Your Word


 

Matthew 21:28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The character of each son is vastly different. One son is independent, disobedient, and insolent, but after thinking about his ways, returns to carry out his responsibility. The second is a big talker, full of promises but no action. In these two men, Christ describes, on the one hand, sinners of all types, who, when convicted by John the Baptist and Himself, turned away from their iniquities, repented, and obeyed God. On the other hand are the scribes, Pharisees, and other self-righteous people who feign a zeal for the law but will not receive the gospel.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 21:29  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Both sons hear the same command: "Son, go work today in my vineyard." Parents should not raise their children in the destructiveness of idleness, and similarly, God commands His children to work (Lamentations 3:27), though we are all heirs. Generally, the first reaction of a sinner to God's truth is "I will not!" which shows the enmity between man and God (Romans 8:7). The disobedient son represents those who have no desire to make an effort to obey God. They neither fear God nor pretend to, seeing no immediate reward for their efforts. Although hypocrisy may exist in other areas of their lives, they are not hypocritical in their stance toward God—they flat out reject Him! Eventually, when called, they realize that true happiness is to work for God to produce eternally rewarding fruit.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 21:30  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The second son deceitfully professes respect and obedience, but he never does his duty. The contradiction between his word and his work exposes his major character flaw—hypocrisy. It is harder to convince a hypocrite of his true state than a flagrant sinner because, in deceiving himself, the hypocrite follows his own standards and form of godliness (Matthew 23:25-26). Contrarily, the flagrant sinner knows he is evil.

Many in mainstream Christianity profess to know God but deny Him in their works. They appear pious at church, but their personal lives are riddled with sin. They are living a lie, and out of their smooth mouths their deceitful hearts speak (Luke 6:45). Their efforts produce the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. The second son does not go to work because he lives for the moment and never comprehends his father's ultimate plan, its wonderful results, and its long-term benefits.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 21:31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The sons' ultimate actions reveal their difference. The first son, after open refusal, repents of his sin—better late than never—and goes to work for his father. He overcomes and changes from bad to good. After experiencing the negative results of sin, he yields to God's instruction, changing direction and doing as his father commanded him—the fruit of his repentance.

The proof of our repentance comes to light when we comply with the Father's will and do good works with the help of the Holy Spirit. The result is the production of the fruit of the Spirit.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 21:32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

John the Baptist proclaimed the truth and lived it, but the Pharisees rejected John's witness and professed their own righteousness while living unrighteously. In this parable, Jesus distinguishes those who generally knew the way of God (Jews) from those who did not (Gentiles). The Jews initially appeared righteous, having the revelation of God and the ordinances of justice established among them. The Gentiles were initially ignorant of righteousness—the way of God—and were sinful in all their conduct. From this, we can learn that those who feel they are knowledgeable and need nothing more fail to realize their spiritual bankruptcy and see no need to change (see Luke 7:36-50). They may appear righteous, but being deceived by Satan, they believe their own righteousness will save them. Therefore, because they see no sin in their lives, they see no reason to repent (Revelation 3:16-17).

But God's true church—the Bride of Christ—makes herself ready by repenting and overcoming sin, by truly valuing and appreciating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and by obeying and revering the Father and His Son. The long-term rewards for obeying the Father's command to work in His vineyard are tremendous.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

 




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