Jesus said to them,“Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”
~ Matthew 21:31 (CSB)
A repentant spirit is the mark of a true Christian.
The Jewish Religious Establishment was Antichrist. There were some exceptions but as a whole, the religious establishment rejected Jesus. They were not pleased when He entered Jerusalem as a King and more displeased when he cleansed the Temple. Every branch of Jewish religious society came against Him: The chief priests, the elders [Sanhedrin], the Herodians, the Sadducees, the Scribes [lawyers] and even the Pharisees who were by far the best of the bunch. There was an air of pride in this elite group of Jewish leaders; they firmly believed that God was partial to them. They were the elect, the chosen, the sons of Abraham and the heirs to all of God’s promises. Jewish people who did not walk in step with them were called “sinners,” and of course we Gentiles in Jesus day were called “dogs.” Now we are referred to as “Goy,” which is Yiddish for Gentile. It is considered a racial slur. After challenging Jesus authority to cleanse the Temple, Jesus told them a very brief parable about a man with two sons.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’ “He answered, ‘I don’t want to,’ but later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. Which of the two did his father’s will? ” — Matthew 21:28-31 (CSB)
Then Jesus shocked them with this statement: Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. Of course they paid no attention to Jesus. They had no faith in Him and they did not believe a word He said. You and I look at the evidence and we scratch our heads, how could they not see and understand what Jesus was saying? Most likely, they were blinded by their pride. John the Baptist basic message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Jesus came after John and said the same thing [Matthew 4:17]. The Jewish Religious Establishment did not repent at John’s preaching and neither were they moved to repentance at the preaching of Jesus. In other words, they refused to repent no matter who was preaching. The first son in the parable “changed his mind” while the second son did not. The second son gave his father lip service but in essence, he ignored his command and never repented of his position. The Christian life is one of continual repentance or renewal of the mind. I’ve changed my mind about things in the last year. To be honest, I believe it is God’s grace working in me to change my mind. I’ve been praying daily for God to change the minds of those in my tiny circle of influence who believe it is all right to kill the unborn. They will not listen to me. I’ve tried being brutally honest and I have tried being kind and gentle but they refuse to repent. The same principle applies to those relying on drugs. Folks doing drugs have no future and yet they are blind to the obvious and refuse to repent, to change their minds about drugs. In their mind, others are to blame for their problems. They see themselves as victims but the truth is: they are sinners who need to repent, just as I have repented time and time again. Repentance is not a once and done process. You haven’t stopped sinning have you? Then you don’t need to stop repenting.
- WOW, another successful STEW and Hayride. We had a great crowd and a ton of children. I bet we had 50 children. I am so thankful for Shohn’s team who do the hayrides. They do a terrific job. It was great to see some folks I had seen in a while and I enjoyed the fellowship. Noah, Sylania, Jamie, and Mandy helped with the stew. Mandy made the chili and it was all eat. Thankfully, Granny Turrentine kept me and Jean from being the oldest persons there. We had only six senior adults: Granny, Jean, Me, Jerry, Sheila and Sue.
- Don’t forget to pray for Dot and Roger. Roger is in CRMC.
- Ray Edwards is currently at Summerford: room 242.