“For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”
King James Version (KJV)
21:32 John came in a way of righteousness - Walking in it, as well as teaching it. The publicans and harlots - The most notorious sinners were reformed, though at first they said, I will not. And ye seeing the amazing change which was wrought in them, though at first ye said, I go, sir, repented not afterward - Were no more convinced than before. O how is this scripture fulfilled at this day!
Mt 21:32 Repented not afterward. The Greek word here translated "repent", is not the one which is used in all commands as, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 3:2), "Repent and be baptized" (Ac 2:38), "Repent and be converted" (Ac 3:19), etc. This term "metamellomai" means, rather, "regret" or "sorrow"; the word in the other passages, "metanoeo", means "change your minds" or "hearts". The regret, or sorrow, for sin leads to repentance (2Co 7:10). The scribes and Pharisees did not regret their course, when they saw sinners repenting, so that they could come into a penitent belief.