Mathew 21:28 – But what do you think?

Mathew 21:28-32 records the parable of the two sons. Jesus asked the chief priests the question, “What do you think?” after they had tried to trap Him with their question about the authority of John’s baptism, whether it was from heaven or from man (see Matthew 21:23-27).

Jesus uses the parable to reveal the heart of these religious leaders. The first son was asked by his father to go work in the vineyard, but he answered “I will not.” Eventually he did go. The father came to the second son and instructed him to go work in the vineyard, and he answered, “I will sir.” This son did not go. Jesus then asked, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They answered “the first.”

Jesus responds to their answer with an amazing response. “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” They gave the correct answer, but their lives demonstrated the attitude of the second son’s rebellion.

Jesus then answers their first question about the authority of John’s baptism. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him” (Matthew 21:32).

Belief is always the issue and belief is demonstrated in action. Some believe that James and Paul had two different views about faith. I believe they were dealing with two different issues. James was combating a superficial faith that had no wholesome effect in the life of the professed believer. Paul, on the other hand, was combating legalism—the belief that one may earn saving merit before God by his good deeds” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Father, I trust You for a belief system that evidences wholesome faith. Faith that is evidenced by my obedience to Your word as I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me.