Matthew 21: 23-32
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. ” By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism–where did it come from? Was it from heaven or was it from men?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’–we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
“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.’
“I will not go ,” he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the older son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what the 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. 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.
After listening to the teachings of Jesus in the temple, the religious leaders, chief priests and the elders were all concerned about losing their high position of authority. By questioning the authority of Jesus, it appears the leaders wanted to trap Jesus in order to have him arrested. Jesus then tells a parable concerning the way of righteousness. The temple leaders had authority to teach the people the right way to live. The religious leaders did not receive the message of John the Baptist to repent and to be baptized, but many tax collectors and prostitutes did received. Now they still refuse to repent and believe even after hearing the words of Jesus. Regardless of how much we think we are righteous, we must all come to Christ in faith believing in him and with humility–repent confessing that we are sinners to find the way of righteousness.
Father we humbly bow before you and ask for your righteousness to become our righteousness that is only made possible through you Son. We desire to enter the kingdom of heaven to live eternally with you. We confess that we have fell short of who you have created us to be. We repent and ask you to awaken us by your power of the Holy Spirit to obey your word of truth. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.