Matthew 21:31

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

Read Matthew 21:31 Using Other Translations

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you,That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
“Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.

What does Matthew 21:31 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Matthew 21:31

Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
&c.] This is the question put by Christ, upon the preceding parable to the chief priests, elders, and Scribes;

they say unto him, the first:
an answer which natural reason, and common sense, directed them to; and therefore they give it out at once, directly, without staying upon it, and demurring about it; though they seemed not to be aware of the application of it to themselves, which follows:

Jesus saith unto them, verily I say unto you, that the publicans and
the harlots;
that is, such who had been so; (See Gill on Matthew 9:10).

go into the kingdom of God before you.
They are signified by the first son, who repenting went, and did the will of his father: these repented under John's ministry, were called, and brought to repentance by the preaching of Christ, and his apostles: these justified God, their Father, by being baptized with John's baptism: these embraced the Messiah, believed in him, and were the first in his kingdom, and set an example to the chief among the Jews to follow: and it is easy to observe, that a poor profane sinner may, by the grace of God, be brought to repentance, that before was obstinate, rebellious, and disobedient, and be made willing to go and work in the Lord's vineyard here, and be at last glorified; when a self righteous person, notwithstanding all his fair promises and resolutions to do good, his professions of, and pretensions to religion, neither repents of his sins, nor believes in Christ; has no share in the kingdom of grace here, nor will he enter into the kingdom of glory.

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice