This is Episode #283 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 20 & 21 together. More parables, with several taking place in vineyards.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #283 and today we’ll read Matthew chapters 20 & 21 together. More parables, with several taking place in vineyards.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Matthew Chapter 20
The Parable of the Vineyard Workers
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on one denarius, he sent them into his vineyard for the day. When he went out about nine in the morning, he saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He said to them, ‘You also go into my vineyard, and I’ll give you whatever is right.’ So off they went. About noon and about three, he went out again and did the same thing. Then about five he went and found others standing around and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one hired us,’ they said to him.
“‘You also go into my vineyard,’ he told them. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard told his foreman, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay, starting with the last and ending with the first.’
“When those who were hired about five came, they each received one denarius. So when the first ones came, they assumed they would get more, but they also received a denarius each. When they received it, they began to complain to the landowner: ‘These last men put in one hour, and you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day’s work and the burning heat.’
“He replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius? Take what’s yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what is mine? Are you jealous because I’m generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first last.”
The Third Prediction of His Death
While going up to Jerusalem, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside privately and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death. They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”
Suffering and Service
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached him with her sons. She knelt down to ask him for something. “What do you want?” he asked her.
“Promise,” she said to him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
“We are able,” they said to him.
He told them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right and left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you 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.”
Two Blind Men Healed
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd demanded that they keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” they said to him, “open our eyes.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him.
Matthew Chapter 21
The Triumphal Entry
When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.”
This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
Tell Daughter Zion,
“See, your King is coming to you,
gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt,
the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Cleansing the Temple
Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”
Children Praise Jesus
The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that he did and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
Jesus replied, “Yes, have you never read:
You have prepared praise
from the mouths of infants and nursing babies?”
Then he left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
The Barren Fig Tree
Early in the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, he went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” At once the fig tree withered.
When the disciples saw it, they were amazed and said, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”
Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did John’s baptism come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him? ’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we’re afraid of the crowd, because everyone considers John to be a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’
“He answered, ‘I don’t want to,’ but later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They said, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.
The Parable of the Vineyard Owner
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. When the time came to harvest fruit, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
“But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?”
“He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his fruit at the harvest.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is what the Lord has done
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew he was speaking about them. Although they were looking for a way to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because the people regarded him as a prophet.
There are so many valuable truths contained in these two chapters, it is difficult to pick just one parable to write about. But the Parable of the Vineyard Workers has always struck a chord in me because of what it means to those of us who are not Jews.
At first reading, the parable appears to offend our western sense of fairness and justice. After all, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay! When the landowner proceeds to pay those who arrived last the same wage as those who had been there from the beginning, it is easy for us to sympathize with those disgruntled workers, isn’t it?
But the parable conveys a deeper truth, that all of us who come to know Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, will be equally justified by Christ before God. This message was originally aimed at the Jewish believers in Christ’s day, who were God’s chosen people. Those Jews who had come to put their faith in Jesus naturally expected that they were valued more by God than Gentile converts.
Not so, says Jesus – the special inheritance the Jews expected from God has been extended to all nations. The parable points out that the Jews are not getting anything less than they were promised…it’s just that they are not getting anything more, either.
Another way this parable can be applied is that we all come to know Christ at different stages in our lives, some when we are very young, and some on our deathbeds. But all are given the same gift of salvation.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you that you have extended this gift of salvation to Jew and Gentile alike. I thank you that we are all given the same wonderful, irreplaceable gift of salvation for putting our faith in you. Help us to remember this and thank you for it every day. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.
So, tell me. Which parable spoke to you? Let me know at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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