Gracious Heavenly Father, You are the ruler of heaven and earth. All praise is due to You.
Consider: We have a wonderful example of obedience. God's own Son both said that he would do his Father's will and carried it out.
Promises to act are easy. We will often tell those closest to us that we will do something for them and then not do it. Many husbands are frequently reminded by their wives of jobs they have promised to do! We can do the same to God. We may spend Sundays singing how much we love Jesus and want to serve him, but he is soon forgotten when we get to work on Monday morning. We are all sometimes like the second son in the parable.
For the Jewish leaders, although there was a need to expose the difference between their words and their actions, the first son was the one whom Jesus wanted to emphasize. In any society religious people tend to think of themselves as superior to those who are obvious sinners, but the coming of Jesus sets out a reversal of this. Sinners are not excluded by past conduct, but are welcomed when they respond to the message of Jesus. Like the first son, present obedience undoes past rejection.
The example of the response of the tax collectors and prostitutes to the message of John the Baptist should have alerted the Jewish leaders to their own need to respond to him. Those of us who have been Christians for many years need to look at what Christ has done in the lives of people who have recently accepted his salvation, and ask whether we are as obedient as they are. A continual stream of unlikely people responding to Christ is a confirmation of the powerful message of the Gospel and an encouragement to think laterally about those to whom we should be witnessing in our own community. If people are avoiding church because they think it is only for righteous, religious people, then we need to think about how we can better communicate the wonderful message of free salvation.
Is it possible that you are saying no to God on a particular issue? Do a spiritual inventory and repent of any disobedience.
Lord Jesus, I am humbled by Your obedience to the Father's will. Forgive me for resisting Your call; continue to show me Your will.