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"Righteous" Hypocrite or Repentant Sinner?
by Wayne Blank
"Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you"
Jesus Christ asked that question to "the chief priests and the elders of the people" (Matthew 21:23 KJV) who put on a very righteous show before God. In their self-righteousness, they provoked the question when they accused the Son of God of doing wrong because He associated with "sinners."
"But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard." (Matthew 21:28 KJV)
First, the example of the son who disobeyed his father, "but afterward he repented."
"He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went." (Matthew 21:29 KJV)
Then, the example of the other son who was very respectful and obedient to his father by appearance and promises, but never really did what his father told him to do.
"And he came to the second, and said likewise.
Jesus then asked them for their answer, to which they replied that the repentant sinner was the truly righteous one. Their answer exposed their hypocrisy.
"Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
Then the point of the lesson; only repentant people are righteous, whoever they are to begin with, whether "publicans and harlots," or "chief priests and elders."
"Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Fact Finder: Jesus referred to John the Baptist in the verses above. What did John call them after they refused to truly repent and obey God?