21:25 Where did John’s baptism come from? From heaven or from people?” 1 They discussed this among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 21:26 But if we say, ‘From people,’ we fear the crowd, for they all consider John to be a prophet.” 21:27 So 2 they answered Jesus, 3 “We don’t know.” 4 Then he said to them, “Neither will I tell you 5 by what authority 6 I am doing these things.
21:31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” 7 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 8 tax collectors 9 and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although 10 you saw this, you did not later change your minds 11 and believe him.
1 tn The plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) is used here (and in v. 26) in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NAB, NRSV, “of human origin”; TEV, “from human beings”; NLT, “merely human”).
sn The question is whether John’s ministry was of divine or human origin.
2 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “So” to indicate that the clause is a result of the deliberations of the leaders.
3 tn Grk “answering Jesus, they said.” This construction is somewhat awkward in English and has been simplified in the translation.
4 sn Very few questions could have so completely revealed the wicked intentions of the religious leaders. Jesus’ question revealed the motivation of the religious leaders and exposed them for what they really were – hypocrites. They indicted themselves when they cited only two options and chose neither of them (“We do not know”). The point of Matt 21:23-27 is that no matter what Jesus said in response to their question, they were not going to believe it and would in the end use it against him.
5 sn Neither will I tell you. Though Jesus gave no answer, the analogy he used to their own question makes his view clear. His authority came from heaven.
7 tc Verses 29-31 involve a rather complex and difficult textual problem. The variants cluster into three different groups: (1) The first son says “no” and later has a change of heart, and the second son says “yes” but does not go. The second son is called the one who does his father’s will. This reading is found in the Western
8 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”
10 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
11 sn The word translated change your minds is the same verb used in v. 29 (there translated had a change of heart). Jesus is making an obvious comparison here, in which the religious leaders are viewed as the disobedient son.