A Rebellious Heart


Jesus strips away the façade and exposes the rebellious heart.


Father, let me serve You with words that are true and a life that lives out what I profess.


Matthew 21:28-32


Which of the sons in this story are you more like?

Asked to clean his room, a teen may respond, "Sure, mom, I'll do it," and yet, he shows no intention of getting it done. The same parent might then go to another sibling with the same request and get an outright "No!" No pretense, just plain rebellion. Truly, both are disobedient. The surprise is when the openly defiant one repents and cleans his room!

The parable in today's reading follows the encounter with the Pharisees who were questioning Jesus' authority. In his story, Jesus presses home that John came "to show you the way of righteousness" (32), yet those who professed righteousness rejected him. The blatant sinners, like despised prostitutes and tax collectors, received John and his message, believed and became obedient. As a result they "are entering the kingdom of God" (31) ahead of the self-righteous religious authorities.

A veneer of goodness can conceal a disobedient heart. We can think we are righteous because we have verbally agreed to comply, but we have not actually obeyed. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves" (1 John 1:8). Jesus stripped away the façade and exposed the rebellious heart.


Ask God to show you areas in which your words and actions do not line up. In God's presence, journal about it.


Lord, help me to be honest with myself and to live honestly before You.

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