Our next text is Matthew 21:31. In context: 28 ?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.? 29 ? ?I will not,? he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 ?Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ?I will, sir,? but he did not go. 31 ?Which of the two did what his father wanted?? ?The first,? they answered. Jesus said to them, ?I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him..
1. In a context about “who’s in and who’s out?”, Jesus tells a parable to dramatize the situation.
2. The parable essentially teaches what can be found in the Sermon on the Mount, and esp what comes to a head in Matthew 7:13-27: it’s about doing what Jesus says. It’s about righteousness.
3. The parable is also consistent with the essential response required by Jesus: repent and believe (Mark 1:15) — that is what Jesus critiques a group (Pharisees?) for not repenting and believing in him.
4. Entrance into the kingdom is by way of (1) repenting and (2) believing in Jesus.
5. Entrance is not secured by simply confessing Jesus or by intention or by claim (21:28-30).