The two parables here are the first ones that Jesus applies directly to the religious leaders. He has told others that clearly relate to them but here he tells the parable right in front of them and then clearly tells them that they are the ones he is referring to.
By the end of these two parables, the Pharisees are determined to get rid of Jesus in any way possible. Only the watching crowd made them hold their hand for a short while.What was it that Jesus said that made them so angry? Jesus’ message to them was very clear: they had been entrusted with the spiritual welfare of the people of Israel and they had failed in that role. Because of their failure, others would be welcomed in the kingdom and they would lose their place. Even those who the Pharisees considered the worst in society would enter the kingdom ahead of them.
As Christians, we are entrusted with the gospel. What do we do with that great responsibility? The Pharisees were found to be hypocrites, loading the people down with unscriptural rules and regulations, acting as if they were the only righteous ones while actually making it harder for the people of God to get close to God.
Those who are entrusted with the spiritual welfare of others, who have the gift of the gospel in their hands, must never make it harder for others to get to God. It may be tempting to lay our expectations on those who seek God, but it is not fitting into a dress code, or acting in a certain socially-acceptable way that will gain a person access to the kingdom of heaven – only Jesus saves.
Let us be sure that, as carriers of a great treasure, we are generous with the riches of the gospel, sharing it freely without condition so that all may hear and all may believe.