[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
The Parable of the Two Sons by Jonathan Holmes
Read: Matthew 21:28-32
At times I walk around my house and think of it as a museum of my own intentions. I go into our office and I see the walls that I intended to paint. Glancing at my yard I notice the leaves that I had intended to rake. Opening my shed I run into the old bookcase that I intended to refinish. I intend to do a lot of things. My intention, however, didn’t help get any of these closer to completion.
Our passage is the first of three parables that are responding to the hostility of the Jewish authorities. In the preceding verses Jesus’ authority was challenged by the religious leaders of the time and he responds by teaching three different parables. All three parables work together to teach about one group of people losing their privileged positions to the very people they despised.
The Parable of the Two Sons illustrates the stark difference between saying and doing and indicates that God cares more about our actions than our intentions. This is a reiteration of the same message Jesus taught earlier in Matthew 7:15-27, “Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” When Jesus posed the question, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” the answer was obvious, “the first of course!” Jesus immediately applies this to the religious leaders, who did not repent and believe (Luke 7:29-30), and told them that they are the second son. Jesus just told the religious leaders that they stood condemned. They must have been horrified by Jesus’ words. The worst of the worst, the despised and immoral, would be welcomed into the Kingdom and they, the religious leaders, would not.
I can intend all day to complete all of the projects mentioned above, but the truth is they are still left undone until I act. The Parable of the Two Sons teaches us that obedience is more important than intent. In Christianese we say, “God knows your heart,” but our gracious obedience is seen in our actions not intents. Obey God’s will by taking action.
- What are some areas in your life in which you have always intended to follow Jesus, but have never acted on your intentions?
- How does Matthew 7:15-27 communicate a similar message to the Parable of the Two Sons?
- Thank God for a kingdom that welcomes ALL who have been redeemed!
- Ask God for greater strength to act on His will rather than mere good intentions.