Matthew, Chapter 21

- ו ש ר -

Jesus Explains Why Prostitutes and Tax Collectors Will See the Light Before Temple Priests 

25The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. 28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (Matthew 21:25-32)

Jesus enters the Temple in Jerusalem and argues with the head Pharisee priests, who question his authority to preach. These same priests had also refused to publicly acknowledge John the Baptist, because even though they did believe he was an emissary of God, they feared that their recognition of him would ultimately weaken their position. The priests’ only consideration is preserving their own power and avoiding unrest inside the Temple. Jesus tells them the parable of a son who refuses to follow his father’s requests, but later reconsiders and does his bidding. Analogously, those simple people in the margins of society who repent and follow Jesus will be the first to enter the Kingdom of Heaven—because they are willing to correct their ways and learn from the past, they will be the first to see the light. Conversely, those people who live a life of hypocrisy and care only about wealth and status instead of true spiritual work and charity—will only see darkness. 

When we treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated, fairness prevails.