Exodus 13:17-15:18; Matthew 21:23-46; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 6:16-19
Quick Repentance: Knowing and Doing
In our attempts to understand good and evil, very few of us will brave the shame of ever putting ourselves in the latter category. The real shame of this is that when we ignore our demons, it becomes remarkably easy to sacrifice almost anything to protect our good facade. This is the predicament in which the chief priests and elders find themselves in the reading from Matthew today. The chief priests are the bad guys, right? And of course we’re not like them. But therein lies the caution Jesus brings to them and to us.
The chief priests and elders questioned Jesus about His authority following Jesus’ many wonderful works. But their reply to His answer shows that it wasn’t a real question. Maybe they didn’t know whether John the Baptist was a man from God or not. But it seems likely that mostly they didn’t want to say. Their motive was sheer self-protection.
The two parables of Jesus illustrate real tests of character and authority. Is it more important to know the right thing and say it, or knowing it, to do the will of the Father? The good son faced his initial disobedience and did what his father desired. The chief priests rightly surmise that Jesus accuses them as tenants of God’s Kingdom of supplanting God with man-made ritual. They were protecting themselves above what the owner desired. There will be moments when God exposes our own self-protection. When He does, let us, like the good son, quickly confess our needless rebellion and do what we know He desires.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL