the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but [of] the Father” (John 14:10). The phrase “I shall not” would have been the correct translation of expression of future intent in the first person, whereas “I will not” expressed desire “as far as one has the power” (Fowler). Lessons for the church about the parable of the two sons 1. The Gospel for this Sunday, as we saw, speaks of two sons, but behind them, in a mysterious way, is a third son. In some other early manuscripts, he is called “the last” (ho eschatos), apparently because in the narrator’s mind that son is the farthest back in the story. Lord.” “I will gladly go?” “OK, I will [grudgingly] go?” or “I get to go! Because Lucifer sought to usurp God’s own honor, glory, power, and authority, he was cast down (Moses 4:3) and, as in Jesus’ parable to the Jewish leaders, Lucifer did not go. Stop comparing yourself.  Robert L. Millet and James C. Christensen, Parables and Other Teaching Stories (Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1999), 7.  These symbolical readings do not diminish or supplant ordinary, plain, practical readings of the parables. 2 (2008): 5–7 (Satan in the heavenly council), and 18–19 (the issue of proper authority). Here one finds a strong reading of this text, conceptually engaging all of its elements. At a deep level, this parable calls to mind a particular dichotomy of enduring eternal character and consequence. 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). There is deeper meaning behind the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible outside of the lessons from the single son.  The King James Version chose to supplement the text by inserting the word his in italics, when Jesus asks, “Whether of them twain did the will of his father?” (21:31). Often, the telling of a story or the projection of a symbol is intentionally laden with moral overtones. No wonder even that first son might need to think things over a bit. When the father tells his second son to go work on the vineyard, he tells him he will work on it. One possible explanation for this textual oddity is that the ultimately willing son is the furthest back in the story in the audience’s mind. )Subdivision B. As mentioned above, to Jesus and his listeners, the vineyard was a potent symbol of the house of Israel (see Isaiah 5:1–7). For Lehi, the dichotomy gave people the choice between liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator, or captivity and eternal death under the power of the devil (see 2 Nephi 2:27). At the literal, factual level, this is a story of a man. John W. Welch was the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, editor in chief of BYU Studies Quarterly, and author of books and articles including The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple (Burlington. PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS. In either case, it is interesting to note that the Father was apparently open to sending either (or perhaps, in some way, both), if they would be willing to be his agents and to do his will within the scope of the authority and assignment given to them. The more one can see the interlacing and reinforcing textures of symbolism at work in a parable, a painting, or any other work of meaningful communication, the stronger the reading. In addition, strong readings must not stretch the symbolism in a text so far as to thin out its texture. (Indeed the leaders won’t get in at all unless they repent.) The Man With Two Sons is God, Our Father, and We Are God’s Sons. This was Jesus’ first teaching in the temple after his triumphal entry, and this short parable effectively took this crucial question of authority all the way back to fundamental principles, not only to the current unwillingness (or inability) of the chief priests to answer the question about the source of John’s authority but also beyond that to things pertaining to the foundation of the world relevant to the source of Jesus’ and all true authority. Having challenged Jesus’ authority, the chief priests and elders found their own authority challenged.  Kurt Erlemann, “Allegorie, Allegorese, Allegorisierung,” in Zimmerman and Kern, Hermeneutik der Gleichnisse Jesu, 482–93. ... ACTIVITY: The Parable Of The Two Sons Materials needed: three 2" x 12" strips of tan construction paper, crayons, markers, tape. 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. Visually a yes and no can be easily expressed through a thumbs up or thumbs down and that’s what this craft captures. And who gave you this authority?" 28 “What do you think? The most widely supported Greek texts literally read as follows: “A man had two sons, and going to the first he said, ‘Go down this day to work in the vineyard.’ He answered, ‘Not as I will,’ but then reconciling himself to the task he went. This verb is translated simply as “went” in the KJV in Matthew 21:29, 30. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 56. They say unto him, The first” (Matthew 21:28–31). 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 The sons were thus called to serve by and with authority directly from the divine principal whom they would serve. . It Is A Thought Provoking Parable That Teaches The Meaning Of True Obedience and What It Means To Do God’s Will. The domain of this objective approach is the “is,” and it limits itself to a close reading of the text itself. Thinking allegorically, this parable offers other interpretive outcomes. He was eager at first, but in the end he would not serve his father. Indeed, the Apostle John knew and testified that the power and authority of Jesus came from the premortal world, where Jesus obtained his right to rule on this earth, not to do his own will, but to do the will of the Father. It might mean that the Jewish leaders, who were chronologically asked first, but did not do the will of the father, were seen as coming first in the parable, whereas the tax collectors and harlots were asked second, and then went, were transposed into second position. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? Tuesday, April 4, A. D. . They can either respond with a yes or a no, but they cannot modify the father’s request. This approach focuses on explaining what happened in the story, either actually or fictively. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972), 80–81. Indeed, multiple readings enrich and magnify these extraordinary texts. ?” “I will do it;” I want the glory! In addition, at the moral level, the parable might also be understood as simply teaching the general point that “it is never too late to make a decision and to act upon it.” And indeed, this parable may well have been originally used by Jesus in this context, or it was eventually placed in this setting in Matthew 21, for the purpose of suggesting that Jesus wanted to persuade the chief priests and the Pharisees that it was still not too late for them to change their opinions and behavior toward him. In the end it becomes clear that this father is not just their father, but God the Father. The other son answered "yes" did not go. While some … They had recently come-of-age and now had their own budding households. Indeed, Joseph Smith taught that the hidden meanings of all the parables were “plainly elucidated” by Jesus to his disciples. He was called but not chosen. Because of this symbolic element, it is often suggested that this parable should be read nationally, as a statement about God’s two ethnic sons, so to speak, the Israelites and the Gentiles: one of the sons (Israel) said (and covenanted) that he would do what God wanted but then did not, while the other (the Gentiles, or the publicans and the harlots) said he would not go, but reconsidered and did go. 2. 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. In hearing that parable, the chief priests and the Pharisees “perceived that [Jesus] spake of them” and their desire to kill him (21:45). The father also goes to his second son and tells him the same thing, to which the son says, 'I go, sir,' but then he did not go. 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. Consistent with this allegorical reading, it is clear that Jesus intended the chief priests and elders to see themselves and their own failure to do the will of the Father in this little parable, as Jesus concluded this part of his conversation with them by saying, “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21:31), and by extension this point of judgment would fall upon anyone else who had rejected John.  Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1980), 161. A Summary Of The Parable Of Two Sons Is Presented, Along with A Reflection On The Parable. The two sons are referred to as the father’s tekna, his own immediate offspring (not slaves or servants); although referred to with this term of endearment, which is often used in speaking of young children, these sons must be old enough and mature enough to do this work. I will redeem all mankind .  “The vineyard is here, as elsewhere (Isaiah 5:1–7; Matthew 21:33–43), a metaphor for Israel.” Arland J. Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 221. . With numerous possible applications to choose from, readers must selectively decide how to interpret what they see in a parable. In any case, the prefix hyp- (from the preposition hypo, under) in composition conveys some sense of being “under, as well of rest as of motion,” or, interestingly, “of the agency or influence under which a thing is done, to express subjection or subordination.” Moreover, in being asked to go, the two sons were told when and where they were to serve—today, and in the vineyard—so their authority was specific. 3 (2011): 71. The parable of the prodigal son; sometimes termed “the lost son” as narrated by Jesus himself (Luke 15: 11-32); is one that shows God's incomprehensible mercy and love. Of course it is the first son. In addition, one further tool was given to the Church by the Prophet Joseph Smith. 21:30 “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Although some have discounted the allegorical nature of the parables of Jesus, the roots of the allegorical mode of interpretation reach deeply into the earliest Hebrew and Christian literature; it was commonly used at least from the times of Jesus (who often spoke of such things as the brazen serpent or the sign of Jonah as analogies of himself) and Philo (20 BC–AD 50), as well as in the writings of Irenaeus (c. AD 140–c. Joseph had two contrasting sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (see Genesis 41:50). In happy families everywhere, it is ethically good for children to decide, in the end, to go and do what their parents have reasonably asked them to do; and it is always a problem for children to promise that they will do something they have been asked to do but then, for whatever reason, leave their parents disappointed. 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.  Jesus may have had several reasons for veiling his meanings, all of which could have been operating on the occasion of Matthew 21. In approaching this or any other parable of Jesus, as Bob has elegantly and cogently written, one needs to be alert to the fact that every communication may contain several symbols that convey, intentionally or unintentionally, multiple levels of meaning: “Some of the messages are crystal clear, while others are intentionally veiled,” depending on “the openness and spiritual receptivity of the listeners.” Furthermore, “a parable can have many applications.” Each element in the parables of Jesus works as an analog, as one thing representing, or “re-presenting,” something else. One of Jesus’ most famous parables is found in Luke 15:11-32. In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a similar story to show how different people obey what God has called them to do. Indeed, speaking prophetically of his death in the longer and immediately following parable of the vineyard and the wicked tenants at the end of Matthew 21, Jesus clearly referred to himself as the son of a landowner in a faraway country who planted a vineyard and sent his servants, whom the tenants beat and killed; and when he sent his own son, they cast him out and killed him too (see Matthew 21:33–41). (Matthew 21:28-31, NIV) In Jesus Parable of the Two Sons, who was represented by the first son? Parable of Two Sons (Matthew 21:23-32) Sunday School Lesson for Kids. Those who refuse God but later repent and obey, like the first son, will go into the kingdom. Except in a few NT manuscripts, the other son simply says egō, kurie, “I, Lord.” In ordinary parlance, this might sound something like “Yes, sir.” But in an anagogical mode, the pronoun egō adds connected significance. The complete lesson plan below has everything you need to prepare for your Bible teaching. 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). I will simply call him “the first.”. From the words of this story, all one knows is that this man was a father of two sons, that he had a vineyard or orchard (ampelōn, the word may mean either), and that he needed someone to go down to work immediately in that vineyard.  This type of thinking has a parallel in the four progressively better types of seeds in the parable of the sower, or the four types of learners who go to study Torah. 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). When had they said they would follow John but then did not do so? The younger one said to him, “Father, give me my share of … Actions Speak Louder Than Words…God’s Speak Loudest of All …. While it is possible that the definite article here (tou) can simply be understood as taking “the place of an unemphatic possessive pronoun when there is no doubt as to the possessor,” which would allow the KJV rendition “his father” as a legitimate translation, Jesus’ wording here echoes the Greek wording found in Matthew 7:21 regarding the one who enters the kingdom of heaven, namely he “who does the will of the Father of mine who is in heaven” (ho poiōn to thelēma tou patros mou tou en tois ouranois). 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.  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