Sinners will go into the kingdom
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. 30 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him. Matt. 21:28-32
FYI:The vine is the symbol of Israel’s spiritual conditions [Psalms 80:8-10]
The sinners did not heed the teachings of the temple, by the Sadducees or in the synagogues, by the Pharisees. However, they did listen to John for all Judea came to him.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Matt. 3:5-6
Just as the prophecy said they would:
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” Mal. 4:4-6
However the spiritual leaders rejected John. They did not see him as a prophet, neither did they understand that he came in the spirit of Elijah.
Their false fantasies and expectations of the Kingdom of God got in the way of the reality in front of them. Their self-centered interpretations lost the kingdom, and their souls. They claimed that they were doing the work of God, but they were not even going “out to the field.”
However, the sinners saw the truth and repented. John had taken the people back to the original, bare basic religion of the wilderness. Blood covered all sin. He did not build a fancy mikveh, i.e. large baptismal pool, like those in Jerusalem. He did not seek to bring any of the people into the temple ceremonial system. John taught a new kingdom was at hand.[Matt. 3:2]
He set up his ministry down on the Jordan River. The River where so much of their history had happened. The same River Joshua crossed, and Naaman was healed. John, like Messiah after Him, rejected the spiritual leaders of the age. They had become a cabal of wickedness.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Matt. 3:7
The Pharisees and Sadducees must not have been pleased with Messiah’s analogy of the two sons because He insulted them deeply. In the ancient culture of the Bible the two greatest insults were to be either hit with a shoe, or be called a snake. John had called them the most poisonous snake there was, and Messiah was now telling them that they should have listen to John.
Salvation belongs to the repentant.
Next Week: The Wicked Tenants