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FRAMEWORKS: Matthew's Gospel

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FRAMEWORKS: Matthew, chapter 20

v.1-16 The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

v.17-19 Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

v.20-28 A Mother's Request

v.29-34 Two Blind Men Receive Sight



v.1-16 The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard


v.1 (Jesus tells about vineyard workers) “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.

v.2 (the owner pays the first employed in the day) He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

v.3 (later he goes out to hire more) “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.

v.4 (he says I'll pay you what is right) He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.'

v.5 (twice more in the day he did the same thing) So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.

v.6 (yet again he draws in some unemployed) About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

v.7 (he takes them on as well) “‘Because no one has hired us,' they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.'

v.8 (at the end of the working day it's time for payment) “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'

v.9 (the last ones in come and are paid) “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.

v.10 (when the rest come they are all paid the same as those in last) So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.

v.11,12 (they grumble about this) When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. These who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

v.13 (but he points out they all agreed when taken on) “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?

v.14 (go, I want to bless everyone the same) Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.

v.15 (don't be envious of my generosity to those who come [later in life]) Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

v.16 (again, kingdom values are reversed) “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


[Comment: Jesus tells a parable about vineyard workers to explain that it is pure grace that any of us enter the kingdom of God.]



v.17-19 Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time


v.17 (they start off for Jerusalem) Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them,

v.18,19 (he explains again that he will die there) “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”


[Comment: Jesus again predicts his forthcoming death. See 16:21 on.]



v.20-28 A Mother's Request


v.20 (the mother of James and John comes asking for a favour) Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

v.21 (she wants her sons to be top people in the kingdom) “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

v.22 (you don't know what that entails says Jesus) “You don't know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

v.23 (only my Father decides who will be what) Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

v.24 (the ten are indignant) When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.

v.25 (Jesus points out that it's in the world it works like that) Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

v.26-28 (not so in the kingdom where values are reversed) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


[Comment: The mother of James and John petitions Jesus on their behalf and he explains why it's not possible for him to do that, and then teaches the disciples again on humility and servant-heartedness.]



v.29-34 Two Blind Men Receive Sight


v.29 (leaving Jericho a big crowd follow) As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.

v.30 (two blind men call out for help) Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

v.31 (the crowd reject them but they carry on crying out) The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

v.32 (Jesus asked them what they wanted) Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

v.33 (our sight!) “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

v.34 (he healed them both) Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.


[Comment: Jesus heals two blind men outside Jericho.]



Continue to Chapter 21