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The Other Story About The Two Sons

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming. . . .” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
–John 4:25-26

During the Civil War, Robert E. Lee sent word to one of his generals, Stonewall Jackson, that he wished to see Jackson at the next opportunity about a matter of no great urgency. As soon as Jackson received the message, he prepared to leave to meet Lee. He arose early the next morning, got on his horse, and rode through a blizzard to get to headquarters. Lee was startled to see Jackson appear so quickly. “I was told you wished to see me,” said Jackson. Lee said, “Well, so I did, but it was nothing important. Did not Captain Smith tell you that?” And Jackson replied, “Yes, sir, but General Lee’s slightest wish is my supreme command.”

A true child of God has that same attitude about the commands of his heavenly Father. As we are going to see in this week’s parable, Jesus said the single greatest proof that we belong to God is our obedience to God.

This parable was told during Jesus’s final week of ministry before His crucifixion. He was in the temple teaching not only to the Jewish leaders who had already rejected Him, but also to the Gentiles. Look at what happened in Matthew 21:23: “The chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’” In other words, “Who died and made You king? How in the world do You have the authority to come in here and claim that You are the Messiah?”

Jesus responded, in essence, “You want to know the answer to your question? Let Me give you a question first.” In verse 25, He said, “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” John the Baptist had been executed because of his prophetic ministry, and he was very popular among the people. The leaders rightly understood the dilemma they were in. If they answered, “From heaven,” Jesus would say, “Well, if John really was speaking God’s message, then why don’t you accept Me as Messiah?” But if they said, “From men,” they would make all of John the Baptist’s followers angry. So they said, “We do not know” (v. 27).

But Jesus was not going to let them off the hook. Instead, He told them a parable about a father who had two sons–one who was obedient and one who was disobedient. Through this parable, Jesus taught that obeying God matters, and it starts with accepting Christ as the Messiah.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Other Story About The Two Sons” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

“Stonewall Jackson: Some Interesting Comments in a Lecture by Dr. J. W. Jones,” Richmond Dispatch, March 23, 1902, Library of Virginia.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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