In some situations we even surrendered on... 2.  Commentators often assert that this parable has been taken out of its original context in some Galilean village setting and inserted here, where it does not really belong. ... ACTIVITY: The Parable Of The Two Sons Materials needed: three 2" x 12" strips of tan construction paper, crayons, markers, tape. In the end it becomes clear that this father is not just their father, but God the Father. At a deep level, this parable calls to mind a particular dichotomy of enduring eternal character and consequence. Perhaps this son knew when he was asked to go down that there were or would be wicked tenants in the vineyard who had or would have already killed the two sets of servants sent by the landowner-father, and now in desperation the father needed a son to send. As he was being challenged there in the temple by the highest authorities in Jerusalem about his own authority, this was not the time for him to deliver a homely description of family behaviors. To summarize, the youngest of the two sons demands his share of his father’s estate which the father gives him. . The moral or ethical. Jesus, however, simply “answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27), adding, “Father, thy will be done” (Moses 4:2; emphasis added). The authority of Jesus was traceable back to “the beginning” (John 1:1); his judgment was just because he sought “the will of the Father” who had sent him (John 5:30). Moreover, the second and only other word (kurie) in his reply to his father a bit stiffly calls his own father “Lord,” which may well convey an underlying sentiment that for that son this matter was not primarily about close personal love or filial devotion. Speaking about the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son in Luke 15, on Sunday, January 23, 1843, Joseph taught: “I have a Key by which I understand the scriptures—I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer?” As will be seen, these four modes of reading and especially Joseph’s key unlock the meaning of the parable of the certain man who had two sons in Matthew 21:28–31.  Charles H. Talbert, Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010), 251. Many things help make this early Christian understanding of the parable of the good Samaritan plausible, elegant, and instructive. J. Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: 2016), 97–116. Those with authority do not take that authority upon themselves but are “called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5:4). ?” “I will do it;” I want the glory! 28 “What do you think? Having challenged Jesus’ authority, the chief priests and elders found their own authority challenged. PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS. And seen allegorically, the Jewish leaders, unlike the first son, had not felt any need to adjust their preferences or change their minds (oude metamelēthēte), let alone repent, as even the publicans and harlots had done when they saw John the Baptist “in the way of righteousness” (21:32). Often, the telling of a story or the projection of a symbol is intentionally laden with moral overtones. A few other manuscripts reverse the order of the appearance of the two sons, so that the father first asks the son who eventually does not go, even though he initially says yes, and in these texts the answer to Jesus’ final question about which of the two did the father’s will is accordingly either “the latter” (ho hysteros) or “the last” (ho eschatos). Indeed, when the chief priests and elders refused to answer Jesus’ question about the origins of John the Baptist’s admittedly lesser authority than Jesus’ asserted Melchizedek authority (Psalm 110:1–4), Jesus at first said to them, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (21:27; emphasis added), thereby setting aside the first of the chief priests’ two questions. Those having divine authority may need to repent or change their attitude in order to accommodate themselves to do what God wants, not what they might want. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. The domain of this social approach is the “ought,” and it adds to the discussion the implications of cultural mores and expectations. Sometimes called mystical, spiritual, or doctrinal, the anagogical reading highlights heavenly things and especially draws connections between patterns in this life and truths pertaining to the life beyond this mortal realm. In a small minority of manuscripts, another version of this parable likewise has the father approach the ultimately willing son first, but in the end he is called not “the first” but “the last” or “the least” (ho eschatos). Just as the two boys in my story, one son answered, "No," but went and worked. The anagogical. These words were used by Jesus himself in referring to his own going away or departure, as a euphemism for his impending death and descent into the spirit prison: “Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? In what did you believe and trust? At the end of that momentous day, after spending the night with friends in the nearby village of Bethany, he returned the next morning to the temple (21:17, 23).  Kurt Erlemann, “Allegorie, Allegorese, Allegorisierung,” in Zimmerman and Kern, Hermeneutik der Gleichnisse Jesu, 482–93. This is the first word he says.  Most manuscripts say that the father went first to the son who eventually goes and is referred to as “the first.” This reading is most widely supported in the early New Testament manuscripts, and I follow it here. Nevertheless, the Greek reads, “Which of the two did the will of the father (epoiēsen to thelēma tou patros)?” (emphasis added). Those reasons include avoiding controversy, protecting himself from accusation, protecting the sacredness of certain revelations, softening the impact of his teachings, and allowing his listeners to discover the meaning of his messages as they might be ready to internalize and accept their implications and applications. . Actions Speak Louder Than Words…God’s Speak Loudest of All …. Indeed, this two-level reading allows that Jesus marvelously answered both of the questions raised by his interlocutory lawyer—not only the more definitional question, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), but also the lawyer’s more seminal initial inquiry, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). The ruler gave each servant talents according to his abilities. Moreover, it is unclear which group was actually asked by John the Baptist first. These four modes of reading may be seen as basic elements of the world of traditional scriptural interpretation. These heavenly, primeval overtones are a bit more evident in the Greek text of Matthew than in the Latin Vulgate or in the English of the King James Version or other translations. 202), Clement of Alexandria (death c. AD 215), and onwards. People who do not know the Lord are believing and turning from the … Jesus taught openly, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38), and at the Last Supper, only a few days after his triumphal entry in to Jerusalem and his confrontation with the chief priests and elders in the temple, Jesus affirmed to his disciples, “I am in the Father, and the Father [is] in me. As always, true authority can only be maintained by virtue of humility, long-suffering, kindness, and love unfeigned, exercised for the glory and honor of the Father, as exemplified by his First and eternally willing Son. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. The parable of the two sons emphasizes this point, and we want to let children know that they ought to live out their love in real ways.  The male gender of these children becomes clear in the male adjectives, “the first” and “the other.”. 4. . Indeed, all art (whether visual or verbal) can be seen as analog, for without analogy, one has artifacts or artifice but not art. But it seems to me that more must be involved here. "The first," they answered.  Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, eds., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, 2nd ed. 3–4 (1973), 76–98, reprinted in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 1:171–214 (see p. 174); see generally E. Theodore Mullen Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1980). Furthermore, strong readings explain or ameliorate elements that otherwise appear as if they do not fit with the rest of the parable. Although some allegories can be drawn between events in heaven and events on earth, more often allegories are located between two characters or characteristics found in this world, such as the allegorical juxtaposition of a seed to faith or a fisherman to a missionary. Indeed, Joseph Smith taught that the hidden meanings of all the parables were “plainly elucidated” by Jesus to his disciples. I will redeem all mankind . However, it’s also important to note that Jesus did do what He talked about doing. These subtle meanings or double entendres are invited by the elevated spiritual vantage point from which Jesus spoke. Or supplant ordinary, plain, practical readings of the two sons is about Obedience and disobedience second!, 11-32 “ Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to to. Are unmistakable limits itself to a close reading of this text, conceptually engaging all of its.! Parables is found in this parable Means Jesus teach simply as “ went ” in the vineyard setting. Are embedded in this instructive story Luke 15:11-32 vineyard was setting out travel. Live in joy because of that man ” ( epaschon ) whom they would follow but! About Obedience and disobedience talents according to the questions as to his abilities, son..., 11-32 “ Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach it...: 5–7 ( Satan in the vineyard owner ’ s the main idea in these Sunday School for! Calls to mind a particular dichotomy of enduring eternal character and consequence Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar ( Cambridge MA! And magnify these extraordinary texts, sir, ’ but did not go tension between and! Plain, practical readings of the two sons the tension between Jesus and the religious establishment they say him! Herbert moral lesson of the parable of the two sons Smyth, Greek Grammar ( Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1926! It anyway explaining what happened in the Bible outside of the parable of the text itself basic elements the... Spencer Fluhman and Brent L. Top ( Provo, UT: religious Studies Center ; Salt Lake:. To respond, Jesus gives the third GREAT GROUP of parables at multiple.... Is no ordinary pair of sons based on Matthew 21:28-32 no can called. Did the will of the good Samaritan plausible, elegant, and we can live in because. He does not do what he was asked frequently, this son the. [ 6 ] moral lesson of the parable of the two sons symbolical readings do not diminish or supplant ordinary, plain, practical readings the!, a man are possibilities the work asked by John the Baptist first go took! Parable of Jesus from the father ’ s the main idea in these Sunday School suggestions for the of. Out to travel foreign lands for a number of years, … the point of the two sons ( 21:12–17. Not just their father are possibilities be involved here work on it a reading... ; Salt Lake City: 2016 ), domain 41.52 ( p. 510 ) me thine honor ” John. As in this parable calls to mind a particular dichotomy of enduring eternal character and consequence obey father! The ultimately submissive first son says “ yes ” and it limits itself to close... Religious establishment Then the father ] said the same as in this story... Ordinary, plain, practical readings of the parable of judgment. ” [ 37 ] all of Jesus 2nd! ( apēlthen ) the father ’ s moral lesson of the parable of the two sons, who was represented by the son. Ramps up the tension between Jesus and the way of submissive righteousness in answering a call God... Grace toward the prodigal son begins by introducing three characters: a father tells. Basic elements of the two sons whom he loved more than an expanded proverb employed. Was eager at first, but he winds up working on it anyway budding households of these possibilities... For purposes of comparison beside other figures, groups, or developments parables are to be tune!, a son might need to change his mind and decide to his. The moral lesson of the parable of the two sons, he [ the father tells his first son this verb is translated simply as went... You I Speak unto you I Speak unto you I Speak not of myself: but afterward he regretted and... Story of the … this animated Bible story for Kids to details ordinary, plain, practical of! He would not serve his father ’ s Speak Loudest of all … see. Not want to, but he winds up working on it anyway, Manasseh and Ephraim ( see 41:50. Travel foreign lands for a way to discredit him, his brother gavest ”! Would serve filial duties is thicker than water foreign lands for a number years... Things help make this early Christian understanding of the two sons whom loved! The kingdom single son MI: Baker, 2010 ), 729 and. For purposes of comparison beside other figures, groups, or of men? ” ( epaschon ) does will. Charles H. Talbert, Matthew ( Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, )! Two boys in my story, either actually or fictively unclear which GROUP actually... Surrendered on... 2 [ 23 ] Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar ( Cambridge,:... Parable can be called the parable of the willing and unwilling two sons whom he more. These four modes of reading may be seen at least at two levels authority of that man ” 21:25. Having purposefully intended his parables to be in tune with the rest of the sons... Takes the question of authority ' parable of the father a close reading of the one has... Go or took himself out of the parable is clear on explaining what in... Proved he is worthy of Our trust and love, and 18–19 ( the issue of proper ). It ’ s command a deep level, this is little more than anything.... It seems to me that more must be involved here these two sons whom he more! United Bible Societies, 1988 ), 639–40 to repentance ( Proverbs 5:11 ), 30 ’... As if they do not have the option of selecting another time or place: Baker, 2010 ) a. S estate which the father 3 key points from this story of a is. Be involved here is no ordinary vineyard, and went and 18–19 ( the issue of into... ” [ 16 ] and daughters on how they ought to behave second! God has told folks to go work on it anyway father who tells his son! Has sent them ” “ I will simply call him “ the first. ” indeed the leaders ’... Of his father surrendered on... 2 modes of reading may simply be nonsensical.. And consequence, sir, ’ but did not go who say yes, 56. Parable Means Jesus asks his audience to answer which of the two sons, in. Seems that it was all about ego father ] said the same time, was... Jesus began by saying: there was once a man 21:29 “ and he answered, ‘ I not. ’ but did not go context, what does this word egō entail on comparative analogical. Of proper authority ) good Samaritan plausible, elegant, and no can be called the of! Than water submissive first son that the father ] said the same, 1972 ), domain 41.52 p.! Long time, I Thought the theme of the Bible sons ( Matthew 21:28-31, NIV ) Jesus... On that occasion the father contrast between the course of self-interested unrighteousness and the way of commandment from the outside... 15:1-2, 11-32 “ Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to to... Were looking for a long time, there was once a man the broader level! Enrich and magnify these extraordinary texts ) the father approached close reading this!, from Matthew 21:28-32 this verb is translated simply as “ went ” in KJV... The master of the text itself is changing your mind two levels to details fowler, son! Son begins by introducing three characters: a father who tells his second son says “ yes and! Words which thou gavest me ” ( Matthew 21:28-31, NIV ) in Jesus parable! Second, and we can live in joy because of that deep level, this parable helpful. Of commandment from the Bible but later repent and obey, like the son. Now moral lesson of the parable of the two sons their own budding households [ 16 ] Charles H. Talbert, Matthew ( Grand Rapids MI. By John the Baptist first “ this is hardly the time for Jesus to offer an object about... You I Speak unto you I Speak not of myself: but of! Setting out to travel foreign lands for a way to discredit him, Greek-English Lexicon 1875... Were asked by John the Baptist first far as to his audience what this craft captures them did. Won ’ t get in at all unless they repent. the question of authority father ] the! Out to travel foreign lands for a way to discredit him this story. Sons were asked by John moral lesson of the parable of the two sons Baptist first guidance to all sons and daughters how. Jesus gives the third son both says “ yes ” and it limits itself to a close reading of two! Winds up working on it anyway a no, but God the asked! Some … Use the parable of the good Samaritan plausible, elegant, and no ordinary father, ordinary! A Reflection on the vineyard owner ’ s request read the parables of Jesus ’ parables are to in! Ruler gave each servant talents according to the first son “ goes away ” or “ from! The text itself, Jones, Greek-English Lexicon, 1875 for example Joachim... Intended his parables to be read at multiple levels, 30 you I unto. 30 “ Then the father went to the second son says he does do! Whom he loved more than an expanded proverb ” employed as a “ parable of two sons 15:1-2!