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A Lesson for Today:the Parable of the Two Sons

Updated on March 25, 2020
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Tim is a local educator who earned his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Albright College in Reading, PA. He is an avid writer and artist.

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son
Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son | Source

Which child are you?

Matthew 21:28-30, “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.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.


A People Who Doesn't Listen

Throughout their history, the nation of Israel, was in a do and don't relationship with God. Like many in America today who profess faith when the nation of Israel found themselves in trouble they would do whatever God asked them to do in order to get God to remove their burdens. However when the good times rolled around, God was the last thing on their minds.

In the time of Jesus the religious leaders walked the same path as their ancestors. They claimed to be the voice of God, speaking His words to the people. Jesus sets the record straight. He chastises them time and again because of their black hearts inside whitewashed tombs who instead of drawing the people towards God they followed their own desires and purposes which lead the people of Israel astray.

The Meaning of the Parable

In Matthew chapter 21 another group of religious leaders ask Jesus by what authority He has been doing the things He does. In other words they want Him to say He is God so they can accuse Him of blasphemy.. Always knowing their motives Jesus responds with a question of His own which makes them squirm, “John's baptism was it from God or not.” The religious leaders and elders feared answering the question because they knew it was a trap, so they chose to take their version of the fifth.


Jesus, not the one to let any teachable moment pass Him b,y tells the parable of the two sons, one son who refuses to do the will of the father, but then repents and the other son who claims to do the work of the father, but in reality ends up doing his own thing. The meaning of the parable is quite clear. The first son, refers to the dregs of society, the tax collectors, the prostitutes and the like who had once shut the door between themselves and God but upon hearing the word of Jesus had repented.

The second son refers the religious leaders, who are supposed to be the ones to lead the people to God but instead because of their arrogance and self righteousness have led the people astray. Jesus follows the first parable with the parable of the vineyard. In the end the chief priests and Pharisees knew Jesus was referring to them and they were outraged.

A Parable for Today

Jump ahead to America of the twenty first century and it seems not much has changed since the days the religious leaders tormented Jesus. About forty percent of Americans profess to be Christian while only about seven percent are actually evangelical Christians. This has created a false perception in society of what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. The truth, the way and the life is hidden away from those who need to hear. It is time for the seven percent to step up and set the record straight and show the world the love of Jesus.

It is time for a choice, as you going to be the son or daughter who says yes, but does not go or the one who at first squabbles but then goes to do the Lord's work.


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