Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Matthew's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: Matthew 20
Passage: Matthew 20:1-16
A. Find Out:
1. About what is Jesus' teaching, and how? v.1,2
2. What did the vineyard owner do throughout the day? v.3-7
3. What did he do at evening time? v.8-10
4. What response did he get and why? v.11,12
5. What response did he give to them? v.13-15
6. What principle did Jesus state at the end? v.16
1. What did the men in the story object to?
2. What point was Jesus making in the story?
3. How does that apply to us today?
Peter has just been asking about rewards and Jesus had said, don't worry about it, you will be rewarded in such a way that you will have no complaint! Now he tells this story.
In it he tells of a vineyard owner (a simple example in those days of a common employer) who throughout the day took on more and more workers and who paid them all exactly the same at the end of the day. When those employed early on complained he simply explained that he was entitled to pay as he wanted. Whether Peter got the point is not revealed to us! Do we get it?
A vineyard had been used in Old Testament times to picture the nation of Israel that was supposed to be fruitful. The owner was God. What does the story say therefore? The men standing around had no work, no future, no life, except at the whim of the owner. It was pure grace that took them on. He had no duty to do so. When he took them on it was on his terms, they were not in a bargaining position. When God takes us into His kingdom it is pure grace. We deserve destruction and instead He gives us life. If He uses us it is pure grace, it is not because we are great and good. If we get rewards, it is pure grace, we don't deserve them. We have no claims on God.
1. Salvation is all grace. We don't deserve it.
2. Service is pure grace, it is all God's gifting.
Chapter: Matthew 20
Passage: Matthew 20:17-19
A. Find Out:
1. Where was Jesus going and with whom? v.17,18a
2. To whom did he say he would be given? v.18a
3. What will they do? v.18b
4. To whom will they then give him? v.19a
5. What will they in turn do to him? v.19b
6. Yet what will happen? v.19c
1. What part will the Jews play in Jesus' downfall?
2. What part will the Gentiles play in it?
3. What do these verses show about Jesus?
They had moved into the south, into Judea , and now they were moving towards Jerusalem , and Jesus starts to explain to the disciples what will happen. The details are amazing!
First, he says he will be betrayed. It could have happened many other ways but he prophesies he will be betrayed. That happened when Judas went to the religious leaders (see Mt 26:14-16).
Second, he says he will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. That was fulfilled (see Lk 22:2-4).
Third, they will condemn him to death (yet not have the power to do it!). This happened! (see Mt 26:66).
Fourth, they will turn him over to the Gentiles. This happened! (see Mk 15:1).
Fifth, they will mock and flog him. This happened! (see Jn 19:1-3).
Sixth, they will crucify him. This they did! (see Mt 27:26).
Seventh, he prophesied that he would be raised from the dead. This also happened! (see Mt 28 etc.)
Seven things Jesus prophesied in this short passage! Every thing was exactly fulfilled. Let us be under no illusions! Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen; it was no accident out of control! Jesus, the Son of God, knew that this was exactly fulfilling the plan of God. He was in total control!
1. Jesus is Lord of every circumstance!
2. Jesus knows all that will come. He is not caught out!
Chapter: Matthew 20
Passage: Matthew 20:20-24
A. Find Out:
1. Who came to do what? v.20
2. What did she ask? v.21
3. What did Jesus say about that? v.22a
4. What did he ask and what did they reply? v.22b
5. What did he say about their future? v.23
6. How did the others feel when they heard about this? v.24
1. What do you think prompted this mother's concern?
2. What do you think Jesus meant by his “cup”?
3. What did Jesus acknowledge in the whole thing?
Matthew has recently been recording Jesus' teaching on rewards in the kingdom and so it is natural for him now to record an incident that further shone light on this subject.
The mother of James and John comes to petition Jesus on behalf of her sons. We may often do this in prayer today. She wants the best for her children and wants Jesus to ensure their future promotion. Well, says Jesus, are you willing to go through what I go through? Yes, they reply. Well that's good, infers Jesus, because you will go through what I go through (you will minister like I have done, and you will be rejected like I have been, and suffer or me) but as to taking particular places of honour in the kingdom, that is not mine to give. This latter point is interesting. Jesus acknowledges (see also Jn 5:19 ) that he only serves his Father. It is the Father who is sovereign and the Son is submissive to Him.. There is a distinct order of authority within the trinity.
Jesus is quite gracious about this misguided request, but not so the other disciples. They think, what a cheek! Why should these two be elevated above us. Two sets of poor responses.
1. Concern for personal position so often is something that drives us into
wrong attitudes. Beware.
2. Jealousy also lurks near by! Beware again!
Chapter: Matthew 20
Passage: Matthew 20:24-28
A. Find Out:
1. How had the other disciples responded? v.24
2. How did Jesus say Gentile rulers behaved? v.25
3. How did he say whoever wanted to be great must be? v.26
4. What did he say whoever wants to be first must be? v.27
5. What did he say he had come to do? v.28
1. What was the “leadership style” of the Gentiles?
2. What is to be the leadership style of Jesus' followers?
3. What style of leadership do you usually see in the church?
The mother of James & John has just asked for position for her sons and Jesus has had to deny her request. The other disciples appear aggrieved when they hear about this, and it is then that Jesus brings this amazing teaching about leadership in the church.
He, first of all, points out how the unbelieving world leads: by domination. The world leaders lead with power and authority and hold high positions with much status. Now that may be all right for the world, says Jesus, but it is not how things are to be in my kingdom.
So, second, he goes on to explain how his followers should behave. To be great in the kingdom of God you must be a servant, indeed if you aspire to really lead you need to be a slave. These are devastating blows to the pride, and are so contrary to the natural self. They say, look to bless and help and work for others all the time. Be totally submitted to God for His disposal (for that is what a slave is).
How easy it is for each of us to lose sight of these things. How easy it is when we have some sort of leadership role, for us to claim status and authority and demand others do things. How alien that is to the teaching of Jesus. Jesus gives himself as THE example by what he did, laying down his very life for us.
1. To be a follower of Jesus means to lay down your life to become a
servant of God and all others.
2. Jesus is our supreme example to follow.
Chapter: Matthew 20
Passage: Matthew 20:29-34
A. Find Out:
1. Where were Jesus & his disciples now? v.29
2. Who did what? v.30
3. But what were they told? v.31a
4. But what was their response? v.31b
5. What was Jesus question and what did they answer? v.32,33
6. So what happened? v.34
1. How did the blind men obviously consider Jesus?
2. What was the crowd's opinion of the blind men?
3. Yet what brought about this miraculous healing?
Jesus has just been talking to his disciples about the true nature of his followers and they have seemed almost blind to the truth. Now, by way of contrast almost, Matthew records an instance of two blind men who desperately wanted to see.
Jesus had left Galilee (19:1) and had come down the east side of the Jordan and was now coming back across Judea in the direction of Jerusalem , passing Jericho , and it is there this happens.
The facts are simple and straight forward: two blind men hear Jesus is passing, they cry out to him and he heals their blindness and restores their sight. But now look at the details: first, they were sitting at the road side, probably beggars. Nobody thinks anything of beggars and the crowd obviously don't want to be bothered with them - but Jesus does!
Then see how they describe Jesus: “Lord, Son of David” says these two believed he was the coming Messiah. There was a high level of faith in them. But the crowd dismisses them, but they won't be put off. There is a high level of perseverance here. They are also quite clear what they want; they believe Jesus can do it! They may be blind, they may be beggars, but these two men are also examples to us!
1. Are we concerned for the poor and unlovely? Jesus is!
2. Do we believe Jesus can transform our “impossible” situation? Is there
faith and perseverance that will push on through to Jesus?
RECAP: Kingdom Values - Matthew 20
In this final group of 5 studies we have seen :
There is some serious teaching in this chapter on the values in the kingdom of God . First of all there is a levelling down of every person in the kingdom. Nobody deserves reward in the kingdom, it is all a matter of grace. We all deserve punishment, and all receive mercy. We have no grounds to complain about inequality in the kingdom.
Then there is the vital subject of position in the kingdom. Unlike any other kingdom, people are not accorded positions of honour. To the contrary, the person who wants to be though well of, needs to be a servant of all. Servant heartedness is a key characteristic in the kingdom of God on earth.
Finally it is faith and perseverance that bring “success” in the kingdom. It is the compassion of Jesus that brings blessing to the undeserving.
1. We have no rights to claim in the kingdom of God .
2. We receive everything through mercy and grace.
3. We have no grounds to complain.
4. Servant heartedness is a key requirement for all Christians.
5. Faith and perseverance bring blessing.
Thank the Lord for your salvation. Thank Him that He loves you as you are. Thank Him that you cannot earn His approval or blessing, simply receive it. Ask Him to develop a servant heart in you that you may be fruitful in His service. Ask Him to further develop faith and perseverance in you.
SECTION SUMMARY - Matthew 16-20
In these five chapters we have seen:
SECTION CONCLUSIONS - Matthew 16-20
As we come to the end of this set of Studies we should, perhaps, note the following:
1. Jesus' Awful Announcements
More than any other Gospel writer, Matthew seems to emphasise the clarity of Jesus' awareness of purpose in going up to Jerusalem for the last time. Again and again in Matthew's account, Jesus reiterates what will happen to him when he gets to Jerusalem . The king is on control, he knows quite clearly what is going on and where and how it will end. This information puts the axe to any possible belief that the Cross was an awful mistake. No, it was part of the clear design and purpose of God. Can we rest in God's plans and purposes even when we don't fully understand what He is doing.
2. Further Conflict
Behind all of the other things that Matthew records is the ongoing nagging of the Pharisees and other religious groupings, but that does not dominate this part of the Gospel, that will come in the next Part. For now it is as if Matthew, in these chapters wants to focus us on Jesus' teaching and activity. Can we recognise that there will be ongoing niggly activity from the enemy, but it's not to put us off.
3. Jesus' Teaching
These chapters are certainly full of much teaching, especially about the values of the kingdom of God . Have we taken on board the teaching that humility, abhorrence of sin in us, servant heartedness, faith and perseverance are key requirements for us?
4. Jesus' Activity.
These have not been chapters so full of activity as say, chapters 8 and 9, yet the activity is significant. There is the disciples' meeting in Caesarea Philippi where Jesus is proclaimed as the Christ. There is the transfiguration where he is seen as the glorified Son. There are his times with little children where he is seen as the kind, gentle and approachable one. There are several healings where his power is shown yet again. We are given a number of opportunities to see the One who is worthy of our worship. Will we give him our worship at the end of these chapters?