Matthew 21:29

ESV And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.
NIV 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
NASB But he replied, ‘I do not want to.’ Yet afterward he regretted it and went.
CSB "He answered, 'I don't want to,' but later he changed his mind and went.
NLT The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway.
KJV He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

What does Matthew 21:29 mean?

While teaching in the temple, Jesus was confronted by chief priests and elders who tried to trip Him up with a question. That did not go as His enemies planned, as Jesus' counter-question forced them into a cowardly attempt to hide their real motives (Matthew 21:23–27). Pressing the issue, Jesus begins a parable involving a man with two sons. The man tells the first son to go and work in the vineyard for the day.

The first son initially refuses to do what his father has asked. In that moment, the son is not just being disobedient—he is being defiant. He directly says he will not comply. However, that hard-headed response eventually gives way and the son winds up doing exactly what his father wanted all along. This parable is meant to contrast those who initially respond to God with defiance, but later come to faith, with those who make a show of obedience but never really obey (Matthew 21:30).

In the following verse, Jesus describes a second son who follows the second pattern, doing exactly the opposite of the first son.
What is the Gospel?
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