Matthew – Chapter 20

Parable of the Laborers

Verse 1 – “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Verse 2 – “Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius (wage for a days work) a day, he sent them into the vineyard.

Verse 3 – “And he went out about the third hour (about 9 o’clock am) and saw others standing idle in the market place,

Verse 4 – “and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And they went.

Verse 5 – “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise (He went out again at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock).

Verse 6 – “And about the eleventh hour (5 o’clock) he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’

Verse 7 – “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’

Verse 8 – “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’

Had the first that were hired been paid first, they would have left and been satisfied, and the point of the parable would have been lost.

Verse 9 – “And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour (5 o’clock), they each received a denarius.

These that were hired with only an hour left to work, had been willing to work all day but no one had hired them.

Verse 10 – But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.

Verse 11 – “And when they had received it, they murmured against the landowner,

Verse 12 – “saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.

Verse 13 – “But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

Did not the first hired agree to a denarius for a day’s wage? Yes. Is it up to the laborers to tell the landowner when or how often he can hire more men? No. Is it up to the laborers to tell the landowner what he should pay any laborers? No.

Verse 14 – ‘Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

Verse 15 – ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’

This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity. Some Christians don’t want the murderer to have the same saving grace as them because they have a higher opinion of themselves.

Verse 16 – “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Many are called into the kingdom, many are unknown and obscure; yet they labor and are truly Christians, and shall receive a proper reward. A few, God has chosen for a higher standard and placed in the body of the church. They will have apostolic gifts, superior talents, and wider usefulness. They may not have long lives, or their race may not be long, but God chose them because it is His right. He honors whom He chooses. Christ was conversing about the rewards that should be given followers, and not about he numbers that should be called, or about the doctrine of the elect.

Instruction About Jesus’ Death

Verse 17 – Then Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,

Verse 18 – “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,

Verse 19 – “and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Verse 20 – Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

Verse 21 – And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”

Evidently the disciples still didn’t believe that Jesus was going to die, because they still thought Jesus was going to set up a kingdom now, on earth.

Verse 22 – But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” The said to Him, “We are able.”

To drink of the cup-suffering and punishment. Baptism, evidently means the same thing, “Are you able to bear the suffering and sorrows and trials?” They will cover you like a flood and plunge you deep into the waters. James was put to death for his faith and John was exiled.

Verse 23 – So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

Jesus always pointed to the Father in all authority. Such rewards were not granted as favors. They are for those who maintained their commitment to Jesus in severe trials.

Verse 24 – And when the ten (disciples) heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers.

Verse 25 – But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great, exercise authority over them.

Speaking of the authority on earth that kings and Gentiles have over their subjects giving high positions to favorites.

Verse 26 – “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Verse 27 – “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave –

Verse 28 – “just as the Son of Man did not come to be servant, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus describes leadership from a new perspective, instead of using people, we are to serve them. A true and real leader will have a servant’s heart. Jesus very plainly told them that His life would be given in order to save many – a ransom.

Verse 29 – Now as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.

Verse 30 – And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

Verse 31 – Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”

Verse 32 – So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Matthew records there were two blind men, while Mark and Luke record only one. This could be the same event but they only mention the one that cried out. And yes, Jesus could see that they were blind, but wanted them to speak.

Verse 33 – They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”

Verse 34 – So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.

Why do you think these miracles of Jesus were recorded in the Gospels? It’s because God wants every person to know His Son. He wants us to see the compassion and kindness, the power through God’s Holy Spirit, and the infinite ability to love, that He has for His children. Then He wants us to know that this same power lives in each believer!

This entry was posted in Matthew.

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