Matthew Chapter 20
The Parable of the Laborers
(Read Matthew 20:1-16)
In this parable, the owner of the vineyard is Christ himself and the field is the world. And the laborers are the believers or the church. The people standing idle in the marketplace are those who seek employment. Though workers started the work in different times, they were paid the same wage. Those joined the work last hour got the equal wage to his original workers. Jesus here warns against jealousy, competition and complains in the ministry among disciples. In this parable Jesus illustrates the truth that the “Last will be first and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). This parable shows that God’s standard for his people is different from human standards of the world. God does not invite people to his kingdom based on their abilities and social standing. Salvation is by grace alone. Many who are socially outcast are being saved and used in the ministry today. God has the right to give or withhold his blessing at will. The goodness of God should not provoke us to complain. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16). It is a reference to the general call of the gospel and how the hearers respond to it. Many people do not follow Christ because their minds are fixed on what they can get for themselves. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone. How blessed is to serve Christ with contentment! Ask God to give you the grace to share the gospel knowing that Christ is the one who saves.
Jesus Teaches the Importance of Service:
(Read Matthew 20:17-34)
Jesus again predicts his death and resurrection. But the disciples failed to understand because they were still thinking of the kingdom of God in terms of earthly kingdom. The Zebedee’s sons were the apostles James and John. The disciples did not realize that the position of leadership belongs to those who are willing to serve others. Bible never says God is seeking leaders but servants. He makes leaders out of servants. Jesus sets an example here to follow him (Matthew 20:26-28). Believers serve others not to earn God’s favor but because they have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness in life. The cup of baptism refers to Lord’s suffering death. Only Christ could pay the ransom for our redemption (Mark 10:45). Ransom is the price paid for our redemption from sin. Jesus laid down his life to save sinners (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus healed two blind men on his way to Jerusalem. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us”. The crowd told them to remain silent. But they cried out all the more. “The Son of David” is the messianic title of Jesus. Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes and immediately they received sight. They followed Jesus. What a contrast! The rich young ruler rejected Jesus for wealth, but the healed blindmen followed Jesus gladly! The disciples argued over who will be the greatest among them. God's compassionate character is revealed throughout Christ's ministry. How blessed to follow Jesus in our life and ministry!