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Summary: A sermon for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost A sermon about repentance

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 21

Lectionary 26

Matthew 21:23-32

What do you think?

23* ¶ 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?" 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?" 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.RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

Our sermon this morning is going to focus on the short parable in our gospel lesson.

I would like to reread that part.

Jesus says, 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?" 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.

Notice how Jesus begin the parable. "What do you think?" He was addressing it to the religious leaders and wanting them to think about something.

This is a very simple parable. A man wanted his sons to go work in the family vineyard, he asked the first son and the first son said, NO!! We do not know why he said no, but then later on he repented, or as some translations say, he changed his mind and went.

The man asked a second son and he right away said yes, but did not go. He lied. He did not follow through on his actions.

Then Jesus asks the question, "Which of the two did the will of his father?" And the religious leaders answered the first.

Then Jesus laid a bombshell on them, the said, "Truly I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."

What Jesus was getting across was that those who repent or have a change of heart, those who know they are sinners and need Jesus’ forgiveness are allowed into the kingdom of heaven. Period!!

Jesus is talking to two different kinds of sinners. He is not talking about one good person and one bad person. He is talking about two kinds of sinners, those who know they are sinners and need repentance, and those who think they are okay in and of themselves.

All of us need to repent because none of us can measure of up to the perfection that God wants out of us. That is why Jesus died on the cross, so that, that perfection can be met by God.

How many of us feel that we are better in our faith, in our live, in our judgment of others? Do we grade others about their faith? Do we condemn others because we feel they are not as good as we are?

This is what Jesus is getting at in this small parable.Jesus is saying that you shall not judge another like the religious leaders did, but we should look after our own self. If we believe that we need the forgiving power of Jesus to repent of our sins, then we will be in the Kingdom of God. The religious leaders felt they needed no repentance, but in fact they did. Jesus is saying that those who know they need to repent and ask for the forgiving power of Jesus in their lives will enter the kingdom of God.

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