Sunday 27 September 2020

Pentecost 17 2020, Matthew 21v23-32, The Parable of the Two Sons, 五旬節2020年,馬太福音21v23-32


Song “Personal Jesus”


Song “There is an everlasting kindness”


Song “The Lord is my salvation”


Song “The power of the cross”



Opening Responses


The world belongs to God

The earth and all its people

How good and lovely it is 

To live together in unity

Love and faith come together

Justice and peace join hands


Song “Great is thy faithfulness”


Let us in silence remember our faults and failings

Christ have mercy on us, and deliver us from our sins and may we amend our lives


The Lords Prayer in our own language

Song “Lord I lift your name on high”

Reading-Matthew 21v23-32

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Song “My dwelling place”




Jesus had gone into the temple and was teaching and his authority as a religious teacher was questioned by the religious authorities. The chief priests led the temple services and were members of the Sanhedrin. 


In return, Jesus asks them a trick question, showing how shrewd he was in understanding the political expediencies at the time and how they mitigated against truth telling as they do today. By what authority did John perform his baptism? The religious leaders are unwilling to answer due to the issue's political sensitivity and they get heated with one another because they have been caught out! He has exposed the game!


Jesus says if you answer me, I'll answer you! The religious authorities supported Herod and Pilate. They were as slippery as snakes! The people thought John was a prophet even though they saw him as mad. They couldn't answer him because they had no theology just political alliances! Political expediency is nothing new. Most of the Church supported Nazi Germany. Many Christians support Trump. 


Jesus then uses a parable to illustrate his teaching. In the parable the father is God and the sons, the religious and non-religious.  Unlike kingdom parables, teaching parables serve to illustrate a truth. The parable of the two sons illustrates the difference between saying and doing. The Pharisees had a real problem with this. They claimed to be moral and upright, tithing their herbs, mint and cumin, but were hypocrites. 


"What do you think?" introduces the parable. The parable of the two sons underlines what is right and not merely talking about it. Walking the walk not just talking the talk. Jesus says that so called sinners tax collectors and prostitutes, nice gender balance there, living sinful lives, choose to do what is right, but the so called moral authorities, the righteous or self-righteous, just talk the talk.


The Pharisees thought that despite the special relationship of the Jews to God, meant they were blessed but they were not good people! The so called righteous, Jesus said, Israel's religious leaders, are excluded from Gods kingdom. This is heresy! Blasphemous! Its like saying the Pope is excluded from Gods kingdom!.


But the lost, the common, the unclean, like tax collectors and prostitutes, and outcasts are included in the kingdom!  They were thousands of religious outcasts in Israel at the time, excluded from its social and religious life. Just like in the world today!


Jesus however discriminates in favour of the poor! What a message for our governments!  Option for the Poor. Positive discrimination! This is rooted in Old Testament theology, but not in twenty first century consumer capitalism! 


Let us remember to walk the walk as well as talking the talk!


Song “There is a hope”


Our Prayers

We pray for people and situations we are concerned about including people having to go back into lockdown, to work, school and those still in lockdown, the desperate people crossing the sea in dinghies, continuing deaths from Covid 19, the ongoing unrest in Belarus, Hong Kong and Syria and other places, the rise of fascism, the government, the Rohinga Muslims, Muslims being persecuted in China, protection for key workers and adequate PPE, protection for Black and Asian people, for people on low or no incomes, for those with underlying health conditions and those over 60, care for those who are alone and those suffering with depression, protection for asylum seekers and refugees and ensuring that food is reaching the vulnerable and global warming. 

May we not fail you. Amen


Song “You raise me up”


The blessing of God be upon you 

On those you love and those you meet

This day and forevermore. Amen


With thanks to the ©Iona Community adapted
































23耶穌進入聖殿,在他任教的時候,大祭司和眾長老來找他。 “你憑什麼權限來做這些事情?他們問過。 “誰給了你這個權力?” 24耶穌回答我也要問你一個問題。如果您回答我,我將通過什麼權限告訴您我正在做這些事情。 25約翰的洗禮-它是從哪裡來的?是來自天堂還是人類?他們彼此討論,然後如果我們'從天堂來,'他會問'那你為什麼不相信他呢?'26但是如果我們'人類起源',我們會害怕人們,因為他們都認為約翰是先知。” 27他們回答耶穌我們不知道。然後他我也不會以什麼權限告訴你我在做這些事情。


28“你怎麼看?有一個男人有兩個兒子。他走到第一個,兒子,今天去葡萄園工作。” 29“我不會,他回答,但後來他改變了主意去了。 30父親又去找另一個兒子,了同樣的話。他回答先生,我會的。但他沒有去。31“兩個人中的哪一個做了父親想要的?他們回答:第一個。






























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