The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
Jesus tells a parable to His disciples, where a landowner goes out to hire workers in the vineyard several times a day, starting early in the morning till late afternoon. To the ones hired first, he agreed to pay them a denarius and to the others, he said he will pay them whatever is right.
“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.’Matthew 20:8
Seeing the workers hired last to get paid a denarius, the ones hired first expected to receive more but were disappointed to receive the same wage that they had agreed upon and started grumbling against the owner. The owner replied,
Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”Matthew 20:15-16
The denarius represents Jesus’s love on the cross that was shed for us which has been freely given to each and every one. Our God is a generous master who has given the gift of salvation to all, irrespective of the work that we have or have not done (with most of us falling in the second category). It is up to us to receive what is allotted to us without grumbling that we deserve more. We should always remember that this gift is because of His grace and not something that we have earned.
“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!”Matthew 20:18-19
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus once again told His disciples about His mission and this time with more details, yet the disciples could not recall these when it eventually occurred and were troubled. Satan put fear in their hearts, making them forget these interactions with their Master.
In our lives also, satan tries his level best to try and make us forget our interactions with God. It is again up to us to give into such baseless claims or reprimand him, with our feet firmly planted in Christ.
A Mother’s Request
The mother of James and John came to Jesus with a weird request,
… 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.”Matthew 20:21
She and her sons probably didn’t know what they were asking for, perhaps they would have just wanted prominent places in the everlasting kingdom, much like how we desire that ourselves. When the other ten disciples heard about the request, they were not happy with the two brothers, perhaps because they too wanted it but James and John were quicker in asking than the rest.
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. 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.”Matthew 20:25-28
Jesus makes it quite clear that just like He came to serve, we too should be serving others and not desire to be served. Let us put ourselves in their shoes and think about the reason we part-take with Christ.
Two Blind Men Receive Sight
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!”Matthew 20:30
These blind men probably knew that they could get their eyesight back through Jesus and thus were shouting. However, the crowd started rebuking them and told them to be quiet, maybe because they thought this would be an easy miracle for Jesus and wanted to see something different or because they thought that the blind men did not deserve healing or perhaps were just trying to save Jesus’s time, but the blind men shouted all the more loudly.
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.Matthew 20:34
The blind men received their sight and followed Him. Though these men were blind, they were able to see Jesus. Are we like these men, able to recognize Jesus and follow Him or do we fail to recognize Him, let alone follow Him.
Let us ponder on our actions and see where we stand. Are we like the workers who were unhappy with the generosity of God or are we like the disciples who wanted recognition or are we like the crowd who rebukes people coming to Jesus or are we willing to share Jesus’s love with others like how Jesus came to serve and not be served.