Life of Christ 152
It is Tuesday morning. Jesus will die tomorrow afternoon. He and His Apostles are in the Temple engaged in a furious back and forth discussion with the Sanhedrin and its lackeys. He has just scored verbal points against them when they attacked His credentials. Now Jesus goes on the offensive. He tells three stories or parables aimed smack dab at the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. (Matthew 21.45)
The first one is found in Matthew 21.28-32:
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Bear in mind, this is aimed at the Pharisees. According to every external measurement they were obedient to Jehovah. In fact, they prided themselves precisely on such external measurements of obedience. But as we have seen time and time again in this discussion on the life of Christ it was an empty obedience. He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (Mark 7.6)
The Pharisees and the religious leadership of Israel were the son who outwardly professed obedience but actually did anything but. Jesus had found a more receptive audience amongst the 'sinners' then He did in the religious leadership. Those sinners, of a long time, had professed with their life a disobedience to Jehovah but upon believing in Jesus that had shifted to obedience. On the other hand, no matter how much the Pharisees professed to obey Jehovah they were actually stubbornly and rebelliously committed to kill God's only begotten Son.
…and Jesus has nothing to lose on this, the day before they kill Him. And on their home turf during their most important feast the day before their greatest 'triumph' He emphatically tells them so.