The benefit of a little guilt – Matthew 21:28-32

After entering Jerusalem, Jesus told a parable about 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.”

Jesus was speaking here to the chief priests and elders of the people who had just questioned his authority (v.23).  He explained this parable without any request to do so, making sure that his audience knew exactly what he was saying by it.

The lesson has to do with doing God’s will in the end, as a final outcome.  Many people express good intentions.  The chief priests and elders would have been perceived as just the kind of people who were known for doing God’s will.  If that were the case, they should have been the first in line expressing their repentance and receiving the baptism of John. 

When we understand the nature of sin, we realize that we are all in need of repentance.  That sense of guilt would be even more pronounced when coming face-to-face with the likes of John the Baptist.  Yet these guys are so numb that they even question the authority of Christ.  Their relationship with God was little more than a nice show, having no humility or sense of need.

On the other hand, tax collectors like Matthew our author and prostitutes saw their sin.  Like the first son in the parable, they did not do the will of the Father from the beginning, but later changed their mind.  They repented at John’s preaching and followed Jesus with transformed lives.  In a culture obsessed as ours is with not making anyone feel bad, let’s take note that as far as Jesus is concerned a little guilt can be a good thing.  There is no repentance without it.

 

Matthew 3 Verse by Verse

Matt photoAll four Gospels mention John the Baptist and his ministry of preparing the way for Jesus.  Today we look at John and the baptism of Christ.

Matthew 03.pdf

Matthew 03.mp3

Fruit in keeping with repentance – Matt 3:8

When John the Baptist saw the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he had some harsh words for them.  He knew coming to observe him was insincere.  One thing he said that was not so harsh though was, 

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matt 3:8 ESV throughout)

This is helpful for anyone.  His point was that no birthright or position, however lofty or admirable, was going to be enough to please God.  Those with the best social standing still need to repent.  And repentance, that turning from sin toward God with a new attitude toward both, is going to be visible.  One passage that shows us the contrast of a pre/post repentance life is Gal 5:19-24.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Another helpful passage is Col 1:9-11,

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.

Finally, Hebrews 13:15 adds a bit more.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

May our lives be full of good fruit, evidence that we have changed our minds, attitudes and hearts concerning sin and turned wholeheartedly toward God in Christ.

39 Books: Nahum – Nineveh (the sequel)

39 Bks Torah Scroll WhiteNahum – Nineveh (the sequel)

Over 100 years before this, the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah.  They are now back to their old ways.


34 Nahum.pdf               34 Nahum.mp3

39 Books: Jonah – A Prophecy for the Prophet

39 Bks Torah Scroll WhiteJonah – A Prophecy for the Prophet

Jonah is sent with a message to Nineveh, the city of the Assyria.  God works on Jonah as well as the Assyrians.

 

32 Jonah.pdf                 32 Jonah.mp3

39 Books: Ezra & Nehemiah

39 Bks Torah Scroll White

Ezra & Nehemiah

These two leaders are instrumental in motivating the Jewish people who return and rebuild after their exile.

 

15 Ezra.pdf                  15 Ezra.mp3

16 Nehemiah.pdf           16 Nehemiah.mp3