Matthew 21:28–32 (ESV)
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “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.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And
he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 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. 32 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.
The important thing is to get the work done. It is not
what comes out of the mouth that is important, but the works that came from the heart. This seems anti-Lutheran, but it is not. We are saved by faith alone and it is important to confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. In this parable,
one actually does the will of the Lord and one doesn’t. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “Jesus graphically depicts the obstinance of His opponents and the depth of their sin in rejecting Him. There are times that our stubborn refusals to
change our behavior are just as obstinate. In God’s kingdom, no repentant sinner is ever turned away. Repentant tax collectors and prostitutes were welcomed; so are we!
I pray: “Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me, Died that I might live on high, Lives that I might never die. As the branch is to the vine, I am His, and He is mine.” Amen. (LSB
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The
Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1629.