Our deeds and actions matter to God. Jesus shares a parable with the religious leaders of His time which exposes the disconnected between their teachings of Scripture and their rebellion against Jesus, the prophesied Messiah. The man in the parable asks his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first says he will not go, but later changes His mind and obeys his father. The second respectfully agrees to help his father, but never goes to work in the vineyard. It is the first, not the second son, who does the father’s will.
Jesus compares the first son to notorious sinners who have come out of waywardness to follow Him. Likewise, the actions of the second son are like those of religious teachers who speak highly of God, but do not surrender to His Will by following Jesus. This difficult teaching gives the religious leaders a chance to change their mind and follow Him. Just as the father in the parable approaches both of his sons, Jesus goes to the tax collectors and prostitutes as well as the high officials and religious elite, beckoning them all to be His disciples and do His Will.
Who are we in the parable of the two sons? Have we spoken with words that affirm God’s teaching but failed to do His Will? Have we come to Jesus after rejecting His instruction? Or are we somewhere in-between? We are each personally invited by Jesus to go where He is calling. For all of us who still live and breathe, today is not too late to follow Him.