Daily Devotional - "Through the Eyes of a Cop"
Briefing: One thing I have found through years of reading the Bible and exploring different translations is: the chapter breaks do not allow us the opportunity to see the whole story. If you don't pay attention, you will miss something immediately before or after your passage. This study builds on the last one. Keep the lessons learned in 21:23-27 in mind while reading this study.
Dispatch (Assignment): Re-read Matthew 21:23-27, the previous lesson, and continue reading verses 28-32. Think of this as all the same lesson.
On the Street: The NIV places a header on these verses that reads, "The Parable of the Two Sons". This separates it from the previous section titled, "The Authority of Jesus Questioned". In the first lesson, we see Jesus ask a question of the chief priests that solicits two responses. Neither response appeals to the chief priest so they decide to answer, "We don't know". This response avoids the truth. In the words of a famous actor, "You can't handle the truth!" I don't think it is a coincidence that Jesus immediately follows this up with the parable of the two sons. They were not seeking the truth, they were seeking a politically correct answer.
In the parable of the two sons, a father poses the same question to two sons. Each gives an answer; one is an honest answer (like the first discussion the chief priest came up with in verse 25) and the second is a deceitful, wrong answer (like the chief priest's second discussion in verse 26). I believe that Jesus is trying to tell the chief priests, and the crowd, that even if your first response is wrong, it's not too late to come to your senses and do the right thing. It is exactly what the first son did.
Jesus goes on to give an example of sinners who repent, come to their senses, and turn to Jesus. In verse 31, He tells us that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God.
Jesus loved these chief priests and elders of the people. He loved the tax collectors and the prostitutes. He was giving the chief priests another chance to turn and repent. Wow!!! If it were me, I would have written these guys off when they tried to disrespect me in front of the crowd but He is still trying to show them the way to salvation.
Jesus wraps it all up by explaining that John the Baptist tried to show them the way of righteousness but they refused to repent.
Highlights from this Read: In verse 29, the first son is honest, not deceitful. After saying no, he seems to have a change of heart, maybe even a little guilt. In verse 30, we see the second son either lied or had no respect for his father.
In verse 31, things are not always what they seem. The second son is like the tree with pretty leaves and no fruit.
It is interesting to note, Jesus did not say the priests would not enter heaven, He said they would be last. The first will be last and the last will be first. This thought is seen several places in Matthew, 19:30, 20:16 and 20:27.
Officer Safety Principle: We all make mistakes. If Jesus will give the chief priests, elders, tax collectors, and prostitutes a second chance, we also have a chance. The key is grabbing onto His mercy and accepting His gift.
from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©2012 by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.