Submitting To Authority


Matthew 21:28-31 is a wonderful example of how people respond to authority. A man asked his two sons, “Go, work today in the vineyard.” One son refuses, but later changed his attitude and went. The other son, without any hesitation, responds with an, “I go, Sir,” yet he later refuses to go and work.

Independence is a tendency among most people. We sometimes refuse the idea of being told what to do. Imagine what a chaotic world we would live in if there was no authority! To give total freedom to every man to do right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25) would spell disaster for everybody. We NEED authority to tell us what to do. Who else better to do that then our creator - GOD?

The first son calls to mind one whose life is compelled to disobedience and makes no profession of religion. He begins to see his guilt and the danger of disobeying God, and as a result, changes his heart, redeems the time, and starts working for God. God accepts his change by His grace and mercy. HE exalts him because of his humility and willingness to submit to His will. His obedience indicates a desire to do better in the future. This submissive soul may be among the few, yet it is a sign of one who realizes authority is of God. WENT says it all.

The second son receives the instructions with every intention of obeying. He shows courtesy and recognition of authority by saying, “SIR.” He appears to be honest, but he has failed to count the cost. He may have been led astray by some worldly attraction that caused him to forget his promise to work in the vineyard. He sounds like one raised in a “Christian family” that provides good examples, surroundings, and has respect for God and His word. When he is called to work for the Father, and the job requires effort and self-denial, he hesitates and may never serve the Master. The “yoke” Jesus promises to be “easy” seems hard and rough. The burden said to be “light” appears too heavy to to carry. The bottom line is - the cross terrifies him.

It is easy to see “which of the two did the will of his father”. How do you react to authority? Are you opposed to submission? Being able to work out your own salvation (Philippians 2:12) requires the attitude - I go, Sir - with the action - and went.