Read Matthew 21
Focus on verse 31
There are few health factors, which affect the overall health of a person more significantly than the condition of one’s heart. When we consider our health holistically this concept becomes even more significant. The health of our physical heart – that muscle that pumps blood through our body – is critical to the health of every other body system. Similarly the health of our heart emotionally and spiritually is critical to our spiritual and emotional health. These three systems physical, emotional and spiritual are not independent of each other. When one system fails, it affects the other two.
In today’s reading Jesus tells another parable. It is a story of a man who had two sons. He asks them both to help him work in his vineyard for the day. The first son says he won’t help, but then changes his mind and shows up anyway. The second son says he will help, but never shows up at the vineyard. Jesus follows the parable up with a question, which the listeners answer. Then Jesus makes a statement that reveals the difference of the heart condition of the man’s two sons.
“Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” (v. 31)
This was an unveiled shot across the bow directed at the Pharisees and religious leaders who were looking for a way to silence Jesus. It is after this discussion that Matthew records that the Pharisees began looking for a way to arrest Jesus.
The Pharisees were the establishment leaders. They held the power over the people and often used it to their own selfish ends. Jesus wasn’t playing their game, it was one of the reasons the people were attracted to Him. Jesus was saying things that some of the people were thinking but did not say for fear of the religious establishment. Jesus refused to be intimidated by them. As a result He intimidated them. What Jesus revealed was the heart condition of a person. Those whose heart was healthy were attracted to Him – those whose hearts were corrupted, feared and hated Him.
Jesus was then, and continues to be now, the defining factor of human heart. In His presence there is no deception. The darkness that corrupts our hearts cannot remain in the presence of His light. We either, allow Him to purify our hearts and restore our spiritual health, or we choose to flee from his presence to preserve the darkness that resides within us. As always – the choice is ours