The Parable of the Two Sons
What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, "Son, go and work today in the vineyard."
"I will not," he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, "I will, sir," but he did not go.
Which of the two did what his father wanted? -- Matthew 21:28-31
This is one of the more difficult of Christ's parables, perhaps because Jesus was speaking to the chief priests and elders. The Scribes and Pharisees exhibited deeply rooted prejudice against the Lord's teaching, trying to trip him up, hoping to find some charge they may levy against him.
Jesus often self-convicted them, overwhelming them with confusion from their own mouths. We have an instance of this in this parable. In order to demonstrate their perverseness, Christ addressed this parable to them, and by their own confessions, he involved them in self-condemnation.
The reasonable commands of the father
"Son, go and work today in the vineyard."
- The nature of the command
- To work in the vineyard
- Man was intended for labor
- Even in Eden, our first parents were called to it
- Laziness is harmful to the body, soul, spirit, and reputation
- Labor is dignified, and good for health and enjoyment of life
- The command was reasonable and proper
- God calls men to do the work of the kingdom
- God calls men to work out their own salvation
- The workplace
- The father's vineyard
- A place in which the sons were personally invested
- God's vineyard is the church
- A place where Christians should be personally invested
- The manner in which the command was given
- Nothing harsh or tyrannical
- Speaks with authority of a parent
- Addresses each as his son
- God is not only the father of our being, but the source of all our mercies
- The period of labor asked
- Life is the day for Christian work