But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will respect my son.
Read Chapter 21
George Leo Haydock
They will reverence This is not said, as if God were ignorant what the Jews would do to his only begotten Son, since in this very place he declares that they would condemn him to death; but, to show what they ought to have done, and what he had a right to expect from them. (Nicholas of Lyra.)
And wherefore sent He not His Son immediately? In order that they might condemn themselves for the things done to the others, and leave off their wrath, and reverence Him when He came. There are also other reasons, but for the present let us go on to what is next. But what means, It may be they will reverence? It is not the language of one ignorant, away with the thought! But of one desiring to show the sin to be great; and without any excuse. Since Himself knowing that they would slay Him, He sent Him. But He says, They will reverence, declaring what ought to have been done, that it was their duty to have reverenced Him. Since elsewhere also He says, if perchance they will hear; Ezekiel 2:5 not in this case either being ignorant, but lest any of the obstinate should say, that His prediction was the thing that necessitated their disobedience, therefore He frames His expressions in this way, saying, Whether they will, and, It may be. For though they had been obstinate towards His servan...
But what does it mean that “it may be that they will have reverence for my son”? This is not the language of an ignorant man. Away with the thought! Rather, it is the language of one desiring to show the sin to be great and inexcusable. For though he himself knew that they would slay him, he sent him. When he says “they will respect,” he states what ought to have been done, that it was their duty to have reverenced him. Elsewhere he says similarly: “whether they hear or refuse to hear.” He is not ignorant of their motives. But lest any of the obstinate should say that his prediction was the thing that necessitated their disobedience, therefore he frames his expressions in a particular way, using indeterminate terms like “whether they will” and “it may be.” For though they had been obstinate towards his servants, yet they ought to have reverenced the dignity of the Son. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily