In response to this question, Jesus tells The Parable of the Tenants.  Recalling to mind that not everyone who simply says, “Lord, Lord [kurie, kurie] shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21). ... ACTIVITY: The Parable Of The Two Sons Materials needed: three 2" x 12" strips of tan construction paper, crayons, markers, tape. The work was needed sēmeron, “today, this day.” Perhaps it was harvest time or planting time; either way, the need was rather urgent. Indeed, multiple readings enrich and magnify these extraordinary texts. Jesus’ parable told the priests that they'd claimed to accept the message from God but they'd failed to live up to it by being obedient. Jesus begins clashing with religious authorities almost immediately by cleansing the temple of moneychangers (Matthew 21:12–17). In most manuscripts, at the end of the story in verse 31, he is called “the first” (ho prōtos). Most manuscripts call him “the other” (ho heteros), while some call him “the second (ho deuteros).” This son stood in utter contrast to the first, as in the expression “on the one hand, or on the other hand.” He is more than numerically second; he also stands in contradistinction, being the “other,” being of another mind or having some other purpose. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. John W. Welch was the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, editor in chief of BYU Studies Quarterly, and author of books and articles including The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple (Burlington. Those with specific authority do not have the option of selecting another time or place. Parable of Two Sons (Matthew 21:23-32) Sunday School Lesson for Kids. Indeed, most potently, this parable takes the question of authority into divine realms. Thinking allegorically, this parable offers other interpretive outcomes. Each of these parables is told to the Jewish religious leaders, each illustrates their rejection of Jesus, and each pronounces judgment on Israel for their rejection of their Messiah. 2.  Thus, for example, second-century Christian readers and exegetes linked “the man going down” and his “falling among robbers” with Adam and the Fall in Genesis; the robbers were seen as symbolizing the minions of Satan; and the Samaritan was interpreted as a reference by Jesus Christ to himself as the one who rescues. The second son says “yes,” but does not do what he was asked. In some other early manuscripts, he is called “the last” (ho eschatos), apparently because in the narrator’s mind that son is the farthest back in the story. The allegorical. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. As he was being challenged there in the temple by the highest authorities in Jerusalem about his own authority, this was not the time for him to deliver a homely description of family behaviors. Thus the use of the definite article in the question, “which did the will of the father” at least invites an anagogical reflection, seeing the father and willing son in this parable as representing Jesus and his Father in Heaven. Nevertheless, the Greek reads, “Which of the two did the will of the father (epoiēsen to thelēma tou patros)?” (emphasis added).  See, for example, the discussion of the role of allegory in Stoic literature as well as the use of allegory by Philo and his Alexandrian predecessors in Svendsen, Allegory Transformed, 9–52. These heavenly, primeval overtones are a bit more evident in the Greek text of Matthew than in the Latin Vulgate or in the English of the King James Version or other translations. At the end of that momentous day, after spending the night with friends in the nearby village of Bethany, he returned the next morning to the temple (21:17, 23). The two brothers were each other's keeper. However, it’s also important to note that Jesus did do what He talked about doing. . Thinking too much of their own self-interests, they failed to learn this eternal lesson—that when people seek unrighteous dominion, the heavens withdraw, and “amen to the . In addition, one further tool was given to the Church by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Significantly, when this other son answered, he did not actually say, “I go, Lord,” as the KJV reads, following the Vulgate, which uses the words “eō [I go], domine.” The word “go,” however, is italicized in the KJV because it is actually not present in the strongest Greek manuscripts. Use the Parable Of Two Sons Multiple Choice as a fun activity for your next children's sermon. It's amid this turmoil that Jesus offers the little-known Parable of the Two Sons. Just as the two boys in my story, one son answered, "No," but went and worked.  Hultgren, “Interpreting the Parables of Jesus,” in The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary, 637: “It should go without saying that a father can represent God, and so it is.”. Which of the two did what his father wanted?" In addition, at the moral level, the parable might also be understood as simply teaching the general point that “it is never too late to make a decision and to act upon it.” And indeed, this parable may well have been originally used by Jesus in this context, or it was eventually placed in this setting in Matthew 21, for the purpose of suggesting that Jesus wanted to persuade the chief priests and the Pharisees that it was still not too late for them to change their opinions and behavior toward him.  See discussion above accompanying notes 23–26. The two sons are referred to as the father’s tekna, his own immediate offspring (not slaves or servants); although referred to with this term of endearment, which is often used in speaking of young children, these sons must be old enough and mature enough to do this work. 2 (2008): 5–7 (Satan in the heavenly council), and 18–19 (the issue of proper authority). The other son answered "yes" did not go. The two sons parable, taught by Jesus Christ, demands that you LET GO of whatever religion you trust, and cling to him alone (Luke 17:33). What was your original religion? 21:28-32.  Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, domains 25.270 (p. 318); 31.59 (p. 373). In the parable of the Two Sons, another parable unique to Matthew's Gospel, the father calls one son first to go work in the vineyard. A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. Moreover, it is unclear which group was actually asked by John the Baptist first. by David Harding. But this form of the parable is “inferior” to the first. Joseph had two contrasting sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (see Genesis 41:50). In fact, logically, the comparative failure of the Jewish leaders to do the will of God has nothing to do with Jesus’ authoritative empowerment to do or to say all the things he was teaching and doing. Going to the other, he [the Father] said the same. See also Psalm 106:45; Jeremiah 20:16; Ezekiel 14:22. And seen allegorically, the Jewish leaders, unlike the first son, had not felt any need to adjust their preferences or change their minds (oude metamelēthēte), let alone repent, as even the publicans and harlots had done when they saw John the Baptist “in the way of righteousness” (21:32). A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’.  Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1980), 161. As always, true authority can only be maintained by virtue of humility, long-suffering, kindness, and love unfeigned, exercised for the glory and honor of the Father, as exemplified by his First and eternally willing Son. Sometimes called mystical, spiritual, or doctrinal, the anagogical reading highlights heavenly things and especially draws connections between patterns in this life and truths pertaining to the life beyond this mortal realm. Deeply valuable symbolism is thoroughly embedded in two of Jesus’ parables, both of which begin, “A certain man had two sons.” The more famous of these two is commonly called parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15. Metzger calls this reading “probably the original,” 56. The Gospel for this Sunday, as we saw, speaks of two sons, but behind them, in a mysterious way, is a third son. Regarding his oath and covenant of the Melchizedek priesthood in Psalm 110:4, the Lord promises that he “will never change his mind” (ou metamelēthsetai). Many things had been put in place for the Son of God to appear in the flesh at the promised and prophesied time, and people in Jerusalem were counting down the days and years for the fulfillment of the prophecy given in the book of Daniel, to say nothing of the prophecies given in the Book of Mormon. In the end, whatever the chief priests and elders knew about the traditional teachings of God’s heavenly council, or whether they could have surmised the implications of the dichotomous two-sons typology that permeates much of scripture, they did not have ears to hear on this occasion. Because of this symbolic element, it is often suggested that this parable should be read nationally, as a statement about God’s two ethnic sons, so to speak, the Israelites and the Gentiles: one of the sons (Israel) said (and covenanted) that he would do what God wanted but then did not, while the other (the Gentiles, or the publicans and the harlots) said he would not go, but reconsidered and did go.  These words in Matthew 21:29 take on an elevated meaning when the “first son” is taken as referring to Jesus himself. Stop comparing yourself. He needed one of his own sons to go down and do this work. Outwardly, they were pious and appeared to be people of God, but God knew their heart, and it was in their hearts that they failed miserably. On that occasion the Father asked, “Whom shall I send?” (Abraham 3:27). In the Septuagint, God does not bring Israel through the land of Canaan so that they will not change their minds (metamelēsēi, Exodus 13:17; but here the KJV reads “repent”). Was it “from heaven, or of men?” (21:25). The son says he does not want to, but he winds up working on it anyway. The ruler gave each servant talents according to his abilities. The complete lesson plan below has everything you need to prepare for your Bible teaching. Brigham Young University
J. Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: 2016), 97–116. Lord.” “I will gladly go?” “OK, I will [grudgingly] go?” or “I get to go! He had a loving father, a good home, provision, a future, and an inheritance, but he traded it all in for temporal pleasures. The moral or ethical. In the Parable of the Two Sons, the leaders of Israel are the second son who claimed obedience, but did not do the will of the father. . The domain of this comparative approach is typically the “horizontal,” and it thrives on comparative and analogical reasoning. With numerous possible applications to choose from, readers must selectively decide how to interpret what they see in a parable. John W. Welch, “Symbolism in the Parable of the Willing and Unwilling Two Sons in Matthew 21,” in Let Us Reason Together: Essays in Honor of the Life’s Work of Robert L. Millet, ed. Eber also had two sons, Peleg and Joktan, and in their days the earth was “divided” (Genesis 10:25). Actions Speak Louder Than Words…God’s Speak Loudest of All …. And he came to the second, and said likewise. Consider the following: The two sons were asked by their father. Moreover, strong readings make use of all the elements, not just a few selected elements, in the text or work being interpreted. Here, if the setting is in the father’s house, the sons are being asked to leave the comforts of home and go work in the fields; if the setting is in the father’s mansion on a hill, or in heaven, then the sons will be going down from there. Indeed, this two-level reading allows that Jesus marvelously answered both of the questions raised by his interlocutory lawyer—not only the more definitional question, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), but also the lawyer’s more seminal initial inquiry, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Metzger, Textual Commentary, 56. The Greek word used here is not the ordinary verb used to mean “repent” (metanoeō), but rather metamelomai, which does not primarily mean “to repent.” In the Septuagint and in Koine Greek, with rare exception, it always means to feel sad about something or to change one’s mind; in Classical Greek it means to regret, or to change one’s purpose or line of conduct; or, as one might say, to reconcile oneself to the task of serving a difficult part in a larger plan.  Just as he was the Firstborn, this son was the first son that the Father approached. When had they said they would follow John but then did not do so? It Is A Thought Provoking Parable That Teaches The Meaning Of True Obedience and What It Means To Do God’s Will.  They may have known of the pattern of authoritative callings and the heavenly council from several passages, including 1 Kings 22:19–23; Psalms 82:1; 110:3; Isaiah 9:5 LXX; Jeremiah 23:18; Daniel 7:9–14; Amos 3:7; 1 Enoch 12:3–4. ?” “I will do it;” I want the glory! UT: Ashgate, 2009), The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2007), and “The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation” (1999) when this was written. As mentioned above, to Jesus and his listeners, the vineyard was a potent symbol of the house of Israel (see Isaiah 5:1–7). .  I first suggested this reading in “‘Thy Mind, O Man, Must Stretch,’” BYU Studies 50, no. Whether or not the chief priests and elders had any knowledge from traditional sources about the heavenly council in which the eternal plan was established from the foundation of the world, that primal event would have been well known to the Savior and perhaps to his disciples and others of his contemporaries. In addition, strong readings must not stretch the symbolism in a text so far as to thin out its texture. The father also goes to his second son and tells him the same thing, to which the son says, 'I go, sir,' but then he did not go. Whether he was not allowed to go or took himself out of the running, the outcome was the same. From these straightforward facts, the message speaks in everyday terms: In such a case, Galilean society would have expected sons to drop whatever they were planning to do that day and go and help their dear, perhaps somewhat elderly, father in his time of need. Several significant factual or cultural points are embedded in this instructive story. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. The parable of the two sons emphasizes this point, and we want to let children know that they ought to live out their love in real ways. The moral lesson of the Two Brothers is that blood is thicker than water. Let's take a look at 3 key points from this story of the Bible. Or it may be that the willing son could be seen as both the first and the last, or as having reduced himself to the least in the kingdom of heaven. New Year New Life (FREE) Sample Lesson In a small minority of manuscripts, another version of this parable likewise has the father approach the ultimately willing son first, but in the end he is called not “the first” but “the last” or “the least” (ho eschatos). The most widely supported Greek texts literally read as follows: “A man had two sons, and going to the first he said, ‘Go down this day to work in the vineyard.’ He answered, ‘Not as I will,’ but then reconciling himself to the task he went. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. One level was for ordinary listeners, who might be edified by the publicly accessible, straightforward narrative value of the story; the other was only for those with eyes to see and ears to hear (Matthew 13:11, 16), and to them Jesus may frequently have unfolded or discussed his deeper meanings in private conversations (as he did in Matthew 13:19–23, 36–43; 19:10–11). Indeed, the first son initially answered the Father’s request by saying, “Ou thelō,” which the KJV translates as “I will not” (emphasis added). Because of this symbolic element, it is often suggested that this parable should be read nationally, as a statement about God’s two ethnic sons, so to speak, the Israelites and the Gentiles: one of the sons (Israel) said (and covenanted) that he would do what God wanted but then did not, while the other (the Gentiles, or the publicans and the harlots) said he would not go, but reconsidered and did go. Matt. Ruben Zimmermann (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 639–40. The less often mentioned can be called the parable of the willing and unwilling two sons, found in Matthew 21. September 21, 2020 by Kristin Schmidt. See Abot 5:15, discussed in Brad H. Young, The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998), 265 (quick to learn, quick to forget; slow to learn, slow to forget; slow to learn, quick to forget; quick to learn, slow to forget). The parable of the two sons is about a father who tells his first son to go work in the vineyard. 30. Having challenged Jesus’ authority, the chief priests and elders found their own authority challenged. These two responses typify the contrast between the course of self-interested unrighteousness and the way of submissive righteousness in answering a call from God. Provo, UT 84602
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