“For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.
Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:1-16)
“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:21-22)
However, the initial response Jesus gave addressed worldly position. The disciples inquired about their own reward. Thus they boldly reminded he who needs no reminding that they had left everything to follow him. Jesus answered them concisely, by teaching them that all things would unfold properly in the kingdom of God. . .
Whether the parable’s inclusion here in Matthew’s gospel, a text not found in either Mark or Luke, is recorded because of ambition expressed on the part of the entire original twelve, or simply noted a particular disturbance that had run solely through Matthew’s church in Antioch… is difficult for us to know. However, we may ask.., “Was it that both Mark and Luke wanted to avoid painting their early church communities as internally contentious? Were persons within their congregations also seeking after power, position or wealth?
In any case, we today may rightly look to Matthew because the parable addressed human economic sinfulness... a folly that may be found in every historical age. Note that the parable states that whether rich or poor, small or large, urban, suburban or rural… we of the Church in these latter days too often ask our Lord, “What are we to do to inherit the good stuff? What shall our payment and position in the kingdom be? Who shall sit at the head of the table? The parable challenges our attitude that human works are often seen as our earning a good seat in heaven. Therefore Jesus long ago challenged our worldly concept of fairness, as reflected over against God’s wondrous grace.
Consequently, in light of this last thought, since the workers described in the parable were brought into labor at various hours of the day, those persons hired first factored for themselves wages on a tilted scale. Thus we see that a stark division occurred when the vineyard owner chose a different course.
|Jesus Among Other Gods
By Ravi Zacharias / Thomas Nelson
No such thing as absolute truth? Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias' work is a brilliant defense of the unique truth of the Christian message. Exposing the futility of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, he also highlights his own journey from despair and meaninglessness to the discovery that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
”Or are you envious because I am generous?” … which is also interpreted properly by some Greek language scholars as… “Is your eye evil because I am good?”
In this variant, we get the full import the message that God is God! The parable asks the hearers to examine themselves about their own motivations. When payment does not meet our expectations…. when our lives do not work out as expected… do we consider ourselves to be judges of what is fair? Is it that we sinful human beings shall judge not only ourselves and our economies, but our God as well? Or shall we more rightfully praise our graceful God?
For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also?
May God Prosper Your Way!