Tax Collectors & Prostitutes

As Jesus was teaching in the temple in Jerusalem (164), the chief priests and the elders came to him and asked, “What right do you have to do these things you’ve been doing? And who gave you this right?”

Jesus replied, “Answer me one question, and I will tell you what right I have to do these things. Where did John’s right to baptize come from?  Was it from God or from man?”

The religious leaders talked among themselves: “If we say, ‘From God,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe John?’  But if we say, ‘From man,’ the people will condemn us because they are all convinced that John was a prophet.”

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” And he said to them, “Since you have not answered me, I will not answer you.

“But consider this.  Once there was a man who had two sons. He went to the older of them and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ ‘I can’t do it today,’ his son answered, but later that day he made the time & did the work.

“Meanwhile, the father went to the younger of them and said the same thing.  ‘Yes, sir, I’ll do it today’ his son answered, but he actually never got around to it. So which of the two sons did what his father wanted?” “The older one,” they answered immediately.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you see that tax collectors & prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you?



“John the Baptizer showed you the right path to take into God’s kingdom, but you wouldn’t believe him.  Yet tax collectors & prostitutes did believe him.

“And even when you saw their faith, you refused to change your minds & believe!”


(164) Matthew 21:23-32, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8