“Publicans and harlots will get to heaven sooner than Pharisees because they are more quickly convinced of their sin and misery”
― Richard Baxter
Jesus posed the priests of the temple the following question:
A man had two sons. He came to the eldest, and told him to go work that day in his vineyard. The son told him he would not, but afterwards, he thought better if it and went. The man came to his second son, and made the same demand of him. The second son told his father he would go, but then did not. Which of the two did the will of his father?
When they answered “the eldest”, Jesus said to them (paraphrasing him for clarity):
You are correct. That is why the publicans (Jews who collected taxes for the Romans) and the prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God before you. When John the Baptist came, even though they had broken the law of Moses, they believed him and repented. But you, though you say you are righteous, did not believe him. Even now, when you have been shown truth of the coming kingdom, you do not believe him and repent.