THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 20

1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Notice that this parable begins with the word "For..." It is a transtive preposition which connects this parable in Chapter 20 with the statement made invss 28-30 of Chapter 19.
Peter had asked a question pertinent to all believers in verse 27 of Chapter 19. He stated the disciples had "forsaken all" and followed Jesus. Then he wanted to know "What shall we have?" What rewards are there?

And Jesus uses the parable in verses 1-12 of Chapter 20 to give an example as to how God works.

First, God is continually looking for workers in His vineyard. His vineyard is the world of people. One cannot help but notice that the "Owner" of the vineyard went out to find workers FIVE times during the day.

Secondly, God is fair. The "Owner" of the vineyard told the first group he would pay them "a penny" for a days work. A day's work back then was 12 hours! And "a penny" was the going wage! The "Owner" told the other workers he found during the day that he would pay them "whatsoever is right." But at the END of the day, the "Owner" paid EVERYONE the same amount!! Even the ones who worked only one hour received "a penny!"

EVERYONE who surrenders to Jesus receives the SAME PAY -- HEAVEN! ETERNAL LIFE!

However, the parable also intimates other rewards. Now, we as Christians are not to be focused on other rewards, we are to focus upon THE reward!

If one Christian rises to more usefulness than another, is it not because of God's grace, and Him conferring upon them special talents, skills and abilities? Therefore, rewards actually belong to God. In fact, ALL the rewards, including heaven belong to God. And He is the OWNER of the Vineyard! He can do with them what He desires. Let us know that He is ALWAYS just, fair and equitable!

Some Christians may toil long and hard. Others may toil hard but not long. The main point is EACH of them receives according to God "whatsoever is right."

It is CHRIST Who makes the difference in Christians. He is the One Who determines if they live long or short, serve long or short, toil hard or less hard. He is also the One Who confers upon us our individual abilities.

ALL Christians are responsible and answerable to God for the WORK!

Now, let's look a moment at that statement "the last shall be first, and the first last."
Some, who come last into the kingdom, may have more required of them than the first. Their toil may be harder, more costly and require more diligence. Of course, some who entered early (Peter, James, John, Andrew, etc.) may have also toiled long and hard. And their lives may have been cut short because of their dedication. Jesus promised those disciples a special position. But there are others to come, who may pay a greater price for their devotion to Christ. But ALL receive the eternal reward of Heaven!! OTHER rewards will be as Christ deems "right."

Then, let us look at the last part of verse 16, "many be called, but few chosen."
It is true that many are called TO salvation, but few are chosen. Why? Because in order to be "chosen," one must SURRENDER to Christ as Lord of his/her life.

But the statement, I believe, refers to all those who are saved. MANY are called to be saved, but FEW are chosen for great works. Most of us just labor daily for the Master in an obscure manner. We do not rise to heights like a Paul, or a James, or a Peter, or a John. Of the "many" who are called into salvation, "few" are chosen to sacrifice their lives. And instead of striving to rise to the heights of the "few," we should be praising God for the grace He gives to the "many!"

17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. 20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Jesus was on His last journey to Jerusalem, probably near Jericho (See verse 29). When He reached Jerusalem, He would be crucified.

There were companies of many people on the road to Jerusalem. The Passover feast required that all male Jews appear in Jerusalem for this (Exodus 23:17) feast.

Jesus took them "aside" because He wanted to impart this information again, and didn't want EVERYONE hearing it. He specifically wanted the disciples prepared, because Jesus knew that this would bring suffering on their part. They could be prepared by holding to the promises that He had made. Remember, Jesus had already told the disciples this would happen (See Matthew 17:22).

Jesus would be delivered "to the Gentiles to MOCK, SCOURGE and to CRUCIFY" Him! But the promise was that He would "rise again" on the "third day!" The disciples needed to keep their focus on the promises, then they would be enabled to endure the hardships!

Aren't we the same? Should we not keep our focus on the promise of eternal glory with Christ? It is by maintaining that focus that we are enabled to endure the hardships of life. Whatever hardships Christians face, God has prepared us with His PROMISES!

Now, James and John's mother comes and asks a question. Mark (See Mark 10:35) says that James and John asked the question. Perhaps it began in a family discussion. At any rate, the question was could they be seated on the left and right hand of Jesus when He established His kingdom securely? The desire is to have places of prominence.

Notice Jesus' answer: "Ye know not what you ask." They were asking what God had, through His foreknowledge, already prepared. Their question intimated that they were still looking for a kingdom on earth. They still had that old idea that Messiah would take over the world and put Jews in charge. And He WILL! But it would be long after the crucifiction and resurrection. And it would be long after the lives of James and John.

Jesus asked them a question: "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" Were they willing to taste the bitter cup of death? Were they willing to endure ignominy, hatred and despicable suffering?

Jesus answered the question Himself. "Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with..." He knew they were men of tenacity, devotion, and dedication. He knew they would be forward in their witness of Him, and would not be afraid of the consequences. He knew that James would be beheaded and that John would be banished to the aisle of Patmos. He knew they would suffer, and yet they would be faithful.

However, "..but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father." What they were asking, had already been prepared by God! God knows ALL things! He knows the end from the beginning! He also knows that positions of honor in His kingdom require MUCH suffering and persectution.

The other disciples must have overheard the conversation, and they were upset. Jesus then used the instance to teach a valuable lesson.

It is not the manner of a Christian to be over authoritative. It is the manner of Christians to be SERVANTS! After all, it was Christ's manner (see verse 28), and that manner is INSIDE the Christian because CHRIST is inside the Christian.

Jesus went further with the lesson. He indicated that the most important person in the kingdom was the one who exercised the greatest servantship! ALL Christians are given the ministry of servantship. How well are you exercising that ministry?

And let me digress a moment. Pastors are NOT the head of the church! The church has only ONE Head - JESUS!! ((See Ephesians 1:22)) Pastors are to be SPIRITUAL leaders of the church by their examples. They are not to be the authoritative, dominating physical leader. ((See Titus 1:6-11)) ((See also 1Peter 5:3))The pastor holds an office in the church, but that office and station demands humility and servantship.

The most important lesson to learn from Christ is that of His humility and servantship. He, though He is GOD, came in the person of man to SERVE mankind. He came to serve love and forgiveness through His blood sacrifice! And He came to serve the offer of eternal salvation through surrender to His Lordship. THEREFORE, Paul says, ((See Philippians 2:5-11))

29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

According to the chronology of Jesus' travels, both Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43 speak of this same instance.

Luke describes only one man, and does not give a name. Mark describes only one man and calls him "blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus." This does not mean there was only one man. It simply means that Mark & Luke spoke of the more prominent man. Bartimaeus was prominent because he yelled and yelled for Jesus, and would NOT hush, even when the crowd tried to tell him to hush.

Notice that when they cried out to Jesus, He LISTENED!! Even though the crowd thought Him too busy, He called the men to Him. When He found out what they wanted, Jesus touched their eyes and they were healed!!

The next verse signifies they not only were healed of their physical blindness, but also their spiritual blindness; for "they followed HIM!"

Many people recognized Jesus and call upon Him for help when they are in trouble. But the healing of the soul is for those who will FOLLOW Him.

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.