Honest Rebellion


A story of hypocrisy vs honest rebellion from Jesus.  Notice the first son here.  “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.”  ” I will not.”  Not maybe.  Not later.  Just no.  A flat refusal, no thought of possibly thinking about as his father asked.   A simple rejection.  Yet…he repented of his rebellion and ultimately did as his father asked.

And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.” So, this son, unlike the first, says yes sir, I’ll go!!  But, despite his immediate affirmative answer, he did not go.  And…the text does not say he changed his mind, like the first son.  Despite his “yes” answer the second son had no intention of actually doing as the father asked.  He simply wanted to put up the appearance of being the good son, without actually having to actually do anything.  This son is the one who reminds of something else Jesus said – ““The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”Matthew‬ ‭23:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  

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 prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.”  The first son represents all those people who early in life flatly refuse to live as God commands, then later repented and changed their direction to believe and follow God.  The second son was literally representing the chief priests and elders of the Jewish faith at the time, to whom he was directly speaking.  Today, I think he could represent many of us.  For in many cases we  profess to love God, to love Jesus, to say “yes” I’ll go, then never post for duty.  We are too busy.  We are tired.  We just don’t really want to.  We’d rather watch tv or check Facebook.   The game is on.  I think most of us (me included) automatically want to think we are the first son.  This is especially true for us in varying stages of recovery.  It’s very easy to relate to early rebellion and now we’ve come around.  But reading this just makes me look at myself, and wonder.   Am I really doing as God is calling me?  Have I really turned my life around to follow Jesus.  Or am I just saying “yes” to make everyone believe I have?  I’d like to think I’ve really turned that corner…but I’m not always so sure.  It’s a good thing I have people in my life to help me be sure I’m really living as I say, that I  aim to live by recovery principles and allow others into my life for accountability.  It would be very easy to just put on those appearances.

“For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”   Sometimes it’s easier for those of us who screwed it all up to fully believe and submit to the good news that is Jesus Christ!!   We are at a point where we can believe that we don’t actually have control of our own lives, ever.  Those who don’t screw it up (at least as far as they’re concerned!) have a harder time coming to this understanding.  They think that they themselves are responsible for their own success, and that they can do it their own way.  Probably why it’s easier for a camel to fit through that needle than for a rich man to get into heaven…

And remember…”Just Say Yes” – but you better mean it!!



““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. 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 prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭21:28-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.21.28-32.esv


John Lewis

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