Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t judge you on your first response or initial reaction to things? I know I am. With God, it is what you do in the end that counts. More times than I care to admit my first response to God’s initiative in my life has been the wrong one, as it was for this first son in the parable that Jesus told.
Saying “no” to an authority figure like a parent or a boss is one thing. Saying “no” to God is quite another. Jesus was very pointedly using the story of these two sons to contrast the two divergent ways people tend to respond to His direction in their lives. (Matthew 21:32) On one hand we have the tax collectors and prostitutes, who were notorious for their initial “no’s” to doing the right thing and righteous living. But the Gospel message so softened their hearts that they finally, upon second thought, said “yes.” Through repenting of their self-willed ways they eventually put their faith in Jesus as God’s son. On the other hand, there were the chief priests and elders who feigned compliance to the will of God, but in the end, did not follow through, repent of their self-willed ways nor accept Jesus as Messiah.
I have several grandchildren who are in the toddler stage. They are sweet and loveable and a big part of my world revolves around them. But one thing they always remind me of is the stubbornness of our fallen nature. We all from birth have a will of our own and given the right circumstances we will voice it in either passive or aggressive ways. It never ceases to amaze me how a stubborn will in such a little body can so fearlessly challenge the will of someone so much bigger, stronger and wiser.