When Jesus was teaching on this earth, He quite often used parables to get his point across. In the temple as he healed and taught the people, the chief priests and elders came to him, asking by what authority He did these things (Matt. 21:23-27)? Jesus answered them with a question. Was the baptism of John from heaven or of men? They knew if they said, “from heaven” they would be convicted for not obeying him. If they said “from men” they feared the people would turn on them, for they held John as a prophet. So their answer was “we cannot tell”.
Jesus used a parable and asked them their opinion of it. Being unaware of the story’s implication, they gave the logical, correct answer. Not until the story was finished did they realize they had convicted themselves and fixed their own punishment.
The story is of a father who asked his two sons to go work in his vineyard. The first son blatantly refused to go, but later changed his mind and went. The second son readily agreed to work, but did not go. Jesus asked them a question that demanded an answer, “which one did the will of the father?”
The meaning of the parable is crystal clear. The first son who refused to go work but later decided to work, represents the sinners and common people who had rejected God, but when Jesus came they saw the error of their ways, and were willing and eager to enter the kingdom. The second son represents the Jewish leaders, who made a pretense and mockery of serving God, but when the long prophesied Savior appeared, they rejected his teachings and eventually crucified and killed him. The tax collectors and sinners turned from their sinful ways to embrace Jesus, but the Jewish aristocracy made no amends, rejecting and casting aside the heavenly kingdom. They chose instead to join those who traveled the broad way to eternal destruction.
The father here represents God, who calls all men to work in his vineyard, the kingdom. John 6:44, tells us that no man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. How does He accomplish this one may ask? Some claim it is through some strange, magical power or fantastic dream that only some select individuals are called? As Jesus continues, He explains simply that we shall all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me (John 6:45). God draws men through the teachings of his inspired word. The great apostle Paul tells us men are called by means of the gospel (II Thess. 2:14). Thus men are brought to the fountain of grace when they learn, receive, and submit to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Matt. 11:28, bids us all to come to Christ. We are to take the gospel to every nation, not a single soul is to be left out of this calling (Matt.28:19-20).
The work to be done in the vineyard, needed to be done that day. Likewise the work that needs to be done in the kingdom needs to be done today. We only have today, for yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come, and it will be forever too late for many souls that may be rescued today.
Like the son who promised, but did not go, many who intend to carry out the work of Jesus do not deliberately lie about it. They find that promising to do something is much easier than actually putting it into practice. Our dedication to the work of the kingdom must be genuine and ongoing. What one says means little, for words can never take the place of deeds. John exhorts us to not just say we love, but show that love through our works and deeds in truth (I John 3:18). Just look around you, there are untold thousands of lost souls all about us. Let us diligently and truthfully work today bringing souls to Christ, for tomorrow could be forever and eternally too late for us all.
We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00. Brother Richard Sitz speaks on the first Sunday of each month and Crittenden Drive church of Christ has graciously supplied us with a host of excellent guest speakers for the remaining weeks of the month and our song leader is Prentice White. We invite one and all to come visit with us and be uplifted by these fine presentations of the “Good News” of God’s Holy Word.