Thursday, December 16, 2021
Today’s Reading: Matthew 21:28-32
“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!”
Reflection: Our deeds and actions matter to God. Jesus shares a parable with the religious leaders of His time which exposes the disconnected between their teachings of Scripture and their rebellion against Jesus, the prophesied Messiah. The man in the parable asks his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first says he will not go, but later changes His mind and obeys his father. The second respectfully agrees to help his father, but never goes to work in the vineyard. It is the first, not the second son, who does the father’s will.
Jesus compares the first son to notorious sinners who have come out of waywardness to follow Him. Likewise, the actions of the second son are like those of religious teachers who speak highly of God, but do not surrender to His Will by following Jesus. This difficult teaching gives the religious leaders a chance to change their mind and follow Him. Just as the father in the parable approaches both of his sons, Jesus goes to the tax collectors and prostitutes as well as the high officials and religious elite, beckoning them all to be His disciples and do His Will.
Who are we in the parable of the two sons? Have we spoken with words that affirm God’s teaching but failed to do His Will? Have we come to Jesus after rejecting His instruction? Or are we somewhere in-between? We are each personally invited by Jesus to go where He is calling. For all of us who still live and breathe, today is not too late to follow Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have seen me in my sloth and disobedience. You have drawn near to me even in my sin. Thank You for Your steadfast love and mercy. I pray that You would guide me in Your good work, and strengthen my resolve to obey You at every command. Help me to give You the glory You deserve. In Your Precious Name I pray, AMEN.
Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan (credit: Biblestudytools.com): Matthew 21:28-46; Numbers 19-20; Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:14