90 seconds on the parable of the two sons (2)

This is the text of a second 90 second slot on Spirit Radio to be broadcast today at 11.30am or so. Spirit won the first national licence in Ireland for a Christian radio station and began broadcasting earlier this year.

The remit was to draw out five easily accessible mini-conversational pieces for Monday-Friday this week based on Matthew 21:28-32 The Parable of the Two Sons.

Had fun doing them! Feedback welcome.

Religion versus repentance

Have you ever worked with these two types of people?

One’s first reaction when asked to do something is always to find a reason to say no. ‘Oh, can you find someone else to do that? I don’t have the time’, but when the deadline comes, they’ve made sure it has been done.

The other’s first reaction is always to say, ‘Sure, no problem, I’ll do that’ but when the deadline comes the task isn’t done.

In the story the Pharisees are the second son; they spoke the right words and did the right religious things like praying and tithing, but when push came to shove their actions spoke louder than their words.

They rejected John the Baptist’s call for repentance and faith. They considered themselves good enough already. ‘We know what it takes to keep the law, to be a true Israelite’ they thought. We’re already there.

That’s religion. When we think that we are good enough based on what we do.

Jesus’ simple story posed a challenge to the Pharisees and to each one of us today. Which sort of person are you? Someone who thinks you are already a fairly decent person – who maybe goes to church now and again and doesn’t do anything too bad –  therefore I don’t need to think much about what Jesus is saying?

Or one who, like a tax collector or prostitute, knows their need of God’s love and forgiveness, and joyfully grabs hold of Jesus’ offer of new life through repentance and faith?

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