Scripture: Matthew 21:28 Jesus said, “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 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 after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
Observation: This was a strongly offensive story to the religious leaders listening to Jesus. They were the ones who appeared to be deserving of God’s Kingdom, but Jesus rebuked them. They would not receive John the Baptist or Jesus himself because their message was not what they expected. Instead, the least deserving people imaginable (tax collectors and prostitutes) DID receive their message and were welcomed into the Kingdom.
Application: We are in the midst of a political upheaval like we have not seen in decades in the US. A complete outsider, Donald Trump, is making a legit run to be on the final ballot for president – as is long-shot candidate Bernie Sanders whom no one saw coming on the Democratic side. People are freaking out, and perhaps rightly so. While I cannot fathom that someone like Donald or Bernie might actually be elected POTUS, it’s important to understand HOW in the world this happened in the first place.
I believe this is taking place in large part because millions of people have completely – and I mean COMPLETELY – lost faith in the political status quo. The normal processes, and the usual power brokers who control those processes, have not delivered for millions of people who see a declining future for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. So they are sending a message. If the traditional leaders won’t do their jobs, we’ll find someone who will. Kyrie eleison…
Prayer: Heavenly Father, these are trying times in the USA. We are at some kind of political inflection point, though it’s hard to know where this ultimately leads. We ask your grace and mercy upon our nation as we continue through this bizarre and even scary election cycle. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.