The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 20

Matthew 20

Workers in the vineyard: God is generous. In this parable everyone gets what they need, even those who didn’t find work until the last hour. Those who laboured through the day are envious, once they find they got no advantage. But consider that the ‘eleventh hour’ employees had a day full of anxious stress over how they would feed their families!

But in real life there is great advantage from accepting Christ’s training from an early age. Decisions about marriage and vocation will be wiser, many regrets will be avoided, and many wonders and joys experienced in walking with Jesus. The one who follows Christ through the heat of the day gains the rewards intrinsic to their obedience – character, strength, purpose and also certain hardships and trials(!) which all somehow contribute to a unique joy. The thief on the cross has no advantage over the Christian child. Instead he has this horrible realization that his life was entirely wasted and he about to die and be forgotten forever. Then Jesus beside him sees his change of heart and gives him the full benefit of new life in him, “This day, you will be with me in paradise!” What joy is his! But every day believers, already knowing what the thief discovered so late in life, can face any day’s heat or hardship also knowing, “Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age!”

 

Jesus again predicts his death: Over and over again Jesus tells the disciples that his coming death is more than a tragic miscarriage of justice, but we will notice that they never took him literally in this, or else thought ‘the Son of Man’ must be someone else, because his arrest will still scare the willies out of them.

 

Greatest in the Kingdom of God: The disciples still haven’t understood the pattern of Jesus’ example. The doting mother of James and John may take the blame for this request, but James and John were right there. The disciples were indignant? Maybe because they didn’t think of it first!

In Jesus’ Kingdom the great are not the powerful subjugating the rest, but those who bless, serve and build up others. Sorry to say, none of us will ever be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, for Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Why don’t we all serve one another in a no holds barred race for second place? That would be amazing!

Two blind men: What do you want Jesus to do for you? Every miracle story has unique features, and this one is refreshing for those who’ve been told, “Jesus has no time for the likes of you,” Or “Stop whining.” And here Jesus speaks, knowing their blindness prevents them from know they have his attention.

Although Jesus most likely knew what their answer would be, here are a couple ministry tips inspired by his question:

1.     He does not assume their greatest problem is what everyone else sees,

2.     He listens and gives them control of the encounter.

3.     He has compassion. He doesn’t do this to show off his skills, or please the crowd. What he does he does for these two ‘little ones’ whom he loves.

 

Lord, I want to love serving more than be served. I want to be glad to be working with you in the vineyard ‘through the heat of the day;’ To find my greatest blessing in blessing others, like my Jesus does!