Who Did the Will of His Father?

There are sins of commission and sins of omission.

There are no secrets from God.

 

(Mat 21:23-32 RSV)  And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" {24} Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. {25} The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?" We may fool others and ourselves but we will never fool God. And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' {26} But if we say, 'From men,' we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet." {27} So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. {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 repented and went. {30} And he went to the second 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?" Actions speak louder than words. They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots 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 harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.” Pride makes it difficult to accept the truth.

 

(Mat 21:33-46 RSV)  "Hear another parable. These parables are aimed at religious men. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. {34} When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; {35} and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. {36} Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Jesus refers to the killing of men of God. {37} Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' {38} But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' {39} And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Jesus refers to the killing of Himself. {40} When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" {41} They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." {42} Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? {43} Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it." {44}  {45} When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. These men were righteous in their own eyes. {46} But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet. Being exposed brought forth resentment and not repentance.

 

(Mat 22:1-22 RSV)  Jesus gives them the triple whammy.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, {2} "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, {3} and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. {4} Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' {5} But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, Too busy? {6} while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. {7} The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Can we see the prophecy here? {8} Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. {9} Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' Gentiles? {10} And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. {11} "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; {12} and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' Clothe yourselves in righteousness. And he was speechless. {13} Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' Rejecting God will lead to disaster. {14} For many are called, but few are chosen." Many people will reject the calling of God and the redeeming sacrifice of His Son Jesus. {15} Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. Shrewd and clever schemes cannot obscure the truth of God when we allow God to work in us. Shrewd and clever schemes are false at the core and will be used against the ones making them. {16} And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, There were Jews that sided with Herod. saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. {17} Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" {18} But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? God knows everything. God is a mind reader and a heart reader. They didn’t practice what they preached and thus they were hypocrites. {19} Show me the money for the tax." And they brought him a coin. {20} And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" {21} They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." {22} When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away. They prized their power and position more than the truth of God and His will. Pride comes before a fall. God wants us to be blessed but He also wants us to recognize His rights. It behooves us to make the same distinction that Jesus made so poignantly here.

 

Story about a Woman and a Butcher and a Chicken

A woman decided to make a chicken dinner for her husband and a few friends. So of course she went to see the butcher who was, of course happy to please the lady, a regular customer. Unfortunately the butcher only had one chicken left, which he offered to the lady.

Looking at the chicken the lady told the butcher that although the chicken was nice she was hoping he had one perhaps a little more plump.

The butcher not wanting to lose a good customer told the lady, “Just a minute, let me check in back.” Then he went to the back with the chicken in hand. After a minute or two he brought the same chicken back to the lady. “How about this one,” he said.

“That one is nice too” said the lady. “I’ll buy both of them!”

 

Reminds me of the old saying, “What a frightful web we weave when first we practice to deceive!

 

 

Read Story, A Quarter Too Much (From Afterglow, May 2007)

Several years ago, a new preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You’d better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a ‘Gift from God’ and keep quiet”

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.”

The driver with a smile replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere! I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church.” When the preacher stepped off the bus, he quietly prayed, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.”

 

This is what doing the will of the Father is all about; avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing! God is good, all the time. He is our example. So, let’s make being good all the time our goal!