The First Son

“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.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 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. 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.

Matthew 21:28-32 ESV

It matters far less where we’ve come from, or even where we find ourselves than where we are headed. God is in the business of reconciling lives. He rescues and redeems. He takes broken and imperfect people and restores them and uses them in the story He’s writing. I believe that this parable of Jesus illustrates that. The two sons described are then related to sinful people and religious people, but not in the way they would have expected. Jesus confronts the religious leaders of the day who refused to see the Kingdom of Heaven standing before them in the person of Jesus and continued in their spiritual blindness to operate contrary to the call of God. Then there were the tax collectors (one of the most hated in society) and prostitutes (one of the most dejected in society). They were the broken and lost who saw the Kingdom of Heaven in the person of Jesus and believed and surrendered their lives to Him.

Obviously, we have a stark contrast between these two groups of people. But I believe the point Jesus is making, is that He is the source of life and salvation, and even those of us who started off life with the worst possible choices, can still find redemption through Him. Even today, if you find yourself in a lifestyle contrary to the God’s calling on your life, you can choose Jesus and find life and restoration. No one is beyond His love. No one is beyond His grace. No one is beyond His reach.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17 ESV

The whoever means whoever. I was once living a life apart from God. Self-seeking. Pleasure-seeking. Honor-seeking. But not God-seeking. But just as the first son did, I changed my mind. I have gone to work in the vineyard where the True Vine is and where I hope to be for the rest of my days. And the grace I have been shown I hope to never take for granted. Do you know someone who is living the way I once did? Walk with them. Listen to them. Speak life to them. Pray for them. Live a life that reflects Jesus to them. They aren’t ever beyond hope. None of us are. Let’s choose life and finish strong!

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.

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