The first week of 5k Every Day in the Month of May 2017 is officially in the books!! Jodi and I ran together for a nice 5k this evening. She rocked 3.1 and I decided to just keep rolling.
I ended up running for an additional 11 miles, making it a 14 mile run altogether. I ran for 1 hour, 50 minutes, and 23 seconds, which ended up being an average pace of 7:51 per mile.
It was a nice run! It felt good to be out, moving my legs, and sorting my thoughts.
Altogether this week I ran for a total of 37.9 miles.
While I was out running today I spent a lot of time thinking about the parable of the two sons from Matthew 21.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 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. – Matthew 21:28-31
I can’t help but wish there was a third son in the parable. I want to be the third son. I want to be the son who said, “I go, sir” and actually went. But that is not how the parable is told, so we are faced with just the two sons…
I think there are probably two main ways to look at the parable. The first is not necessarily the right way to look at it, but I think ultimately a helpful interpretation to consider. I’ll call it the immediate interpretation.
In the immediate interpretation, I think it is helpful to realize that our actions are ultimately more important than our words. I see this mistake far too often in the church. It is the mistake of saying “Yes” to God but not actually walking in the very thing we said “Yes” to.
For instance, we may say, “Yes, Lord, I am going to honor you today in all that I say and do” and then we go through the day acting like an idiot and dishonoring God in what we say and do.
I am reminded of what the prophet Isaiah wrote along these lines:
… the Lord said: “… this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me… – Isaiah 29:13
In this immediate interpretation, it seems that it is far better to do the will of God than to simply say you will. It is of no value to know the right thing to do if you are not willing to roll up your sleeves and actually do it.
Again, I prefer a third son who lets his “Yes” be “Yes”, but we are not given a third son.
While this interpretation is, I think, ultimately helpful, it is also not really the point of the parable. It seems to be a peripheral truth.
The real point of the parable, I believe, is the salvation interpretation. By this I mean that the parable, I believe, ultimately reveals God’s heart to invite all people into salvation through Christ.
The religious, self-righteous people will say “Yes” to the idea of salvation but ultimately refuse to trust in Christ alone for eternal life. Meanwhile, those who recognize that they are in desperate need of a Savior will say “No” at first by going their own way and making a mess of their lives, but ultimately turn to Jesus as their only hope and closest Friend.
This had to be a difficult parable for the religious leaders to hear.
…”Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. – Matthew 21:31b-32
There is no third son, so the question for us is this:
Regardless of what we have done in the past (whether good or bad), are we trusting in Christ alone for salvation?