SUMMARY OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 20
We have now completed our exciting walk through another chapter in the life of the greatest man to ever live. The prophet from Galilee named Jesus of Nazareth. He was teaching His disciples on the principles of putting others first so that you could be seen as a leader, a motivator, the person in charge. This was so contrary to the way others did it, especially the non-Jews. With them, it was always “me first.”
To make His point, Jesus illustrated this by telling a parable about the owner of a vineyard who went out early in the morning to the city square to hire some workers who gathered there everyday looking for work. He told them he would give them one silver coin as their wage. Some of them responded and went into the vineyard to work. A few hours later, the owner needed more workers so he went back to the market square and hired some more. He did this several times that day, right up until there were only a few hours left to work.
When the day ended and everyone went to the paytable to receive their silver coin, some of those who had been in the vineyard all day were shocked when those who had only been working a few hours received the same wage. They were furious and wanted to know why they weren’t paid more. So they went to the owner and demanded an answer. He calmly asked them, “What did I promise to pay you?” They answered, “I silver coin.” “How much did you receive,” he asked? “One silver coin,” they replied. “Well then,”said the owner, “you got what you were promised.”
But they were not satisfied. They wanted to know why they didn’t get more and the late hires receive less. The owner stated again, “I gave you what I promised. You agreed to work for that wage. That should be enough.” Then Jesus looked at those listening to Him and repeated what He had said earlier about how in the kingdom of God those who thought they should be treated with favor will end up at the end of the line, while those who willingly accepted what they were promised will be the first to get their reward. His point was that all who receive an invitation to be part of the kingdom of heaven are promised the same thing, eternal life. So why should those who only have a few years to labor in His vineyard receive any less than those who were given the opportunity to work for him longer? Everyone should rejoice in the fact that they were called. Older believers should be happy with younger believers, even if they are given their reward on the same day.
But Jesus had other work to do, so He headed for Jerusalem. But before He left the area of Jericho, He had a private meeting with His disciples and told them that His trip to Jerusalem would result in His being arrested by the Jewish authorities, condemned to death, turned over to the Romans for execution on a cross, but after three days He would rise to life again. Needless to say, His followers were not ready for such news. They had given up everything to follow Him. They wanted to be part of His kingdom as the Messiah when He came to power.
In fact, two of His followers conspired with their mother and asked her to approach Jesus and beg Him to make sure that when He took over His kingdom that one of them would be seated on His left and the other on His right. But Jesus was ready, and told her and the two followers, James and John, that they would first have to drink from the same cup of suffering that He was about to drink before any decision could be made as to where they would be seated in His kingdom. In fact, He told them that only His Father in heaven would make that decision.
Needless to say, the other disciples were not happy when they heard what James and John had put their mother up to. So they confronted these two sons of Zebedee and gave them an ear full of what they thought of them. But Jesus stepped in, pulled them aside and told them they were acting just like non-Jews in that each one wanted to show who had the last say. Jesus told them, “My followers don’t do that. In fact, if any of you want to be a leader, you must first be willing to be a servant.” Then Jesus pointed at Himself and said, “Watch me. Even as your leader, I did not come to be served, but I came to serve so that through my death others may have eternal life.”
With this settled, Jesus then proceeded toward Jerusalem. Along the way, two blind beggars called out for His help. And in spite of those in the crowd telling them to be quiet, Jesus did just what He was teaching His disciples. He stopped what He was doing and took care of their need for healing. As a result, they then became His followers. But little did they know that because of their being healed of blindness, they were about to witness something that no one had ever seen before.
We will look at this marvelous revelation of Chapter 21 of Matthew starting on Tuesday. God bless you for your continued hunger for His Word. And thank you for being such faithful students of the greatest life ever lived.