Matthew, Chapter 20
Matt. 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an
householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into
his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a
day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third
hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto
them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give
you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and
ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out,
and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here
all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He
saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right,
that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard
saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire,
beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were
hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But
when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more;
and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had
received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying,
These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto
us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered
one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree
with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give
unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what
I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the
last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few
passage, the Lord sets forth a parable of what the kingdom of heaven is
like. In this parable, it is obvious that the householder is the Lord,
the vineyard is the church, the laborers are the children of God, and
the steward is the Holy Spirit. When someone joins the church, he or she
is entering into a labor. We labor in the Lord's vineyard. While the
church is a place of rest, it is also a place of labor. We labor in
prayer, in reading and studying the word of God, in living lives to
God's name's honor and glory, in telling others as we have opportunity
about what great things the Lord has done for us, in comforting others,
in encouraging others, and in developing a close fellowship with others
in the church. We also labor in our Christian warfare.
there is a reward for our labor. The Lord is a great paymaster. He gives
us much more than we deserve. We are blessed with the comfort of the
word and with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and with the fellowship
of others of like precious faith. Many blessings of service are ours as
we serve the Lord.
Not every one
comes into the church at the same time. Some come into the church at a
young age, others come in at middle age, and still others come in when
they are old. Within any local church, some are long time members, some
are members for only a few years, and some are relatively new members.
In the above
parable, the Lord hired some early in the day and they agreed on the
wages as being a penny a day. Later in the day, the Lord hired other
laborers who were not told what their wages would be. They were told
they would receive what is right. Still later in the day the Lord hired
more laborers, and finally very late in the day the Lord hired still
more laborers. The Lord had the paymaster to pay all the laborers a
penny a day. Those hired first thought they should have received more
because they had born the heat and the burden of the day. They
complained because they received the same wage as those that were hired
several lessons that we can learn from this parable:
1. Length of
membership does not give us more blessings or privileges over those who
have been members only a short time.
2. What we receive is more than what we deserve and comes from God's
3. God is a sovereign God and can do with his own as he pleases.
4. The blessings of church membership begin with the day that we are
baptized along with our labor in the kingdom. We are immediately blessed
to eat at the Lord's table, to receive the comfort of the word, to have
a throne of grace to which we may go, to have an equal voice with all
the other members in the affairs of the church as long as that voice is
according to the word of God.
5. Sometimes, those who have been members longer may get to thinking
that they should have more say in the affairs of the church or what the
church should do, because of their length of membership. However, the
Lord has shown us that the seniority rule does not apply in his church.
Certainly respect should be shown to those who have been members a long
time, and they have wisdom that is often useful to the conduct of the
church and the church should listen to that wisdom. However, each person
in the church has an equal voice in the affairs of the church and shares
an equal responsibility in the decisions that are made.
Matt. 20:17 "And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples
apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem;
and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the
scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him
to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the
third day he shall rise again."
the Lord told the disciples what was going to happen to him, but they
did not believe him. The only part they ever heard was that he was going
to be crucified and die. They did not want him to die; therefore, they
did not believe that he would die.
that the Lord told the disciples of his impending death are listed
1. Mat 16:21 "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his
disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of
the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised
again the third day."
2. Mat 17:23 "And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be
raised again. And they were exceeding sorry."
3. Mark 9:31 "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son
of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and
after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day."
4. Mark 10:34 "And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall
spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise
5. Luke 9:22 "Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be
rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and
be raised the third day."
6. Luke 13:32 "And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold,
I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third
day I shall be perfected."
7. Luke 18:33 "And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the
third day he shall rise again.
8. Mat 26:2 "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover,
and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."
The Lord also told the disciples that he would rise the third day, but
since they did not want him to die and did not believe he would die,
they never heard him concerning the resurrection of the dead. I am glad
that the Lord did not depend on the disciples hearing and believing in
order to redeem his people from their sins.
Matt. 20:20 "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her
sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he
said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my
two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left,
in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask.
Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We
are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of 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 shall be
given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten
heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of
the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great
exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but
whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And
whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as
the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to
give his life a ransom for many."
for promotion is an intense fleshly desire. Most people want to promote
themselves to honor. Most parents want their children to be honored. To
sit on the right hand and the left hand of Jesus in his kingdom would be
considered a great honor. The mother of James and John wanted this honor
for her sons. God's kingdom is not like the world, however.
The Lord asked the two disciples if they were able to drink of the cup
that he drank of and to be baptized with the baptism that he was
baptized with. They said they were able. They may not have known at that
time what the cup and the baptism were. They answered yes. The Lord told
them they would indeed drink of his cup and be baptized with the baptism
that he was baptized with. The cup was the cup of his death and the
baptism was the baptism of the Holy Ghost and all of the disciples drink
of this cup and are baptized with this baptism. We should be satisfied
with this privilege and not seek to be promoted over others.
The Lord said
that to sit on his right hand and on his left was not his to give, but
it shall be given to them of whom it is prepared of the Father.
disciples were indignant against James and John when they heard of this.
The reason they were indignant was that they themselves felt like the
two had tried to get an advantage over them in promotion. Thus, they
themselves desired to be promoted over their brethren.
called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority
upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be
great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be
chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
ransom for many." We are not to seek promotion over our brethren, but in
the kingdom of God we are to seek to minister unto our brethren. Those
who are great in the kingdom of God are those who serve others and
minister unto others. Those who are chief in the kingdom of God are
those who are servant to their brethren. This is just the opposite of
the ways of the world. In many ways the kingdom of God is just the
opposite of the way that things are done in the world.
take the attitude of John the Baptist. He said of Jesus, "He must
increase, but I must decrease." The more that we decrease in our desire
to be someone or to be promoted, then the more that we are great and
chief in the eyes of the Lord.
Matt. 20:29 "And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude
followed him. 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side,
when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on
us, O Lord, thou son of David. 31 And the multitude rebuked them,
because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying,
Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. 32 And Jesus stood still,
and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 33
They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had
compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes
received sight, and they followed him."
Do we realize
how hard it is to follow someone when we are blind? Only a blind person
could understand how hard it is to follow someone when he is blind. The
multitude was following the Lord, and yet the Lord passed by two blind
men as they sat by the wayside. We should understand that everything
that the Lord does is by design. He knew the blind men were there and
he, no doubt, went by them on purpose.
The blind men
understood their condition that they were blind and the hardships that
they endured because they were blind. No one had to tell them. Likewise,
there comes a time in the life of a child of God that he feels himself
to be spiritual blind. He does not need that someone tell him that he is
spiritually blind, for he knows it. These two blind men called out for
the Lord's mercy. They did not feel themselves to be worthy of being
healed as they called out for mercy. If they had felt worthy, they
wouldn't have asked for mercy, but they would have pressed for receiving
what they thought they deserved. It is also the experience of a child of
God when he feels the spiritual blindness of his heart that he calls out
for mercy, for he believes himself to be an undeserving and unworthy
The blind men
called the Lord, "thou son of David." This had direct reference to the
prophecy that of the seed of David one would set upon the throne of
David and reign in an everlasting kingdom. They believed the Lord to be
that eternal king that was to come as had been prophesied. We might ask
ourselves, "How did they come to believe this?" I call your attention to
Peter's answer when the Lord had asked the disciples who the son of man
was: Peter had said, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God."
To this the Lord answered, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh
and blood hath not revealed it unto you, but my Father which art in
heaven." It is in this manner likewise that the two blind men knew that
Jesus was the Christ, and therefore, the son of David.
in life, we are hindered in our pursuit of the Lord by the multitude.
The multitude had rebuked and told the two blind men to keep silence.
However, there is a time to cry out the more unto the Lord even when the
multitude is trying to hinder us. This is what the two blind men did.
Jesus asked the two, "What will ye that I shall do unto you?" They
answered, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." These two certainly
believed that the Lord had the power to open their eyes and if it
pleased him, he could open their eyes.
The Lord had compassion on the two and opened their eyes. They
immediately followed the Lord. It is much easier to follow the Lord when
we have spiritual eyesight than when we are spiritually blind.