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  • Writer's pictureEast Martin CRC

A Tale of Two Brothers


Matthew 21:28-32

Verse 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.


Yesterday we talked about how Jesus told a story about the Pharisees and their true heart. That wasn’t the only story Jesus told regarding them as we will see in today’s parable.


This parable was given to the religious leaders after Jesus cleared the Temple. He knew this was His last week as the human being Jesus. Before the end of the week, He would allow Himself to be killed physically. The mission was ramping up and that meant He needed to make sure certain messages came across more clearly, like helping the people see that lip service or merely keeping the law was not what it took to be right with God.


Jesus made this parable so simple that the religious leaders must have seen the meaning of it but Jesus doesn’t leave it to chance and takes the time to explain it to all who were there. True, this isn’t the only time He explained His stories but this is one of the rare times that there were more in the audience for the moral than just His disciples. This was a blatant attempt to reveal truth. A truth that wasn’t welcomed by many.


The story talks about a father who asks his older son to work in the vineyard, the son says no but then changing his mind, goes to the vineyard to tend to it. With the older son saying that he wouldn’t do it the father asks the younger brother who agrees to do it but then doesn’t follow through. Jesus wanted the leaders to see that they were missing God’s plan for them. He wanted them to repent and live for Him but they were too busy thinking that as long as they followed every part of the law they were good.


Yes, doing every little thing in the law may sound like doing what God wants but really it is only trying to win God’s approval. They were trying to work their way to heaven. They had sins that they didn’t want to admit because they were the sins that others couldn’t see, sins of motive, evil thinking and works done to gain the favor of men. Repentance is what God desires of us. Sinners who repent are those that truly know God, hypocrites who think they don’t need to repent, just obey, don’t know Him.


Making It Personal

What is the difference between someone who repents and someone who is a hypocrite? Do you repent when you are convicted by the Word of God? In what areas are you prone to being a hypocrite?


Making It Personal Kids

Is saying one thing and doing another a good thing? What does it mean to repent? Have you repented to Jesus?


Closing Prayer

Father, we confess that there have been times we have been like the hypocritical brother. Help us remember that repentance is the only way to truly know You as our Lord and Savior. Guide us Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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