Changing our minds. That’s not something we look on favorably.
In politics, if someone changes his or her mind on an issue, that person is labeled with the unflattering term “flip-flopper.”
We equate changing our minds with being indecisive, weak, unable to plant ourselves on firm ground and stand up for what’s right.
I think all the bluster around changing our minds is probably covering up a deeper simple fear of change.
The chief priests and elders are certainly stuck there in our gospel story this morning.
They feel like they have to defend the integrity of their tradition and hierarchy against Jesus, a stranger who is coming in and offering the word of God and healing people without permission from anyone.
They can’t change their minds in front of the crowd.
They can’t look weak and indecisive by admitting they were wrong about John the Baptist.
But they do end up looking weak as they fall neatly into their own trap that they had set for Jesus.
Jesus is recommending that we change our minds, and he tells us a parable about it. We have the one son who says he’ll help but doesn’t, and the son who says he won’t help in the vineyard but changes his mind and goes and does it.
Everyone immediately understands which son did the will of his father.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.’”
“You did not change your minds,” Jesus says.
You saw something great, but you did not allow it to act upon you and change your mind. Continue reading