About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 20
whole 16 verses of this section consists
of a parable. The
parable goes like this. There
was an owner of a vineyard who needed labourers in his field.
He went into the market place where those looking for work for the
day would normally gather. He
found some and hired them for the day for a certain amount of money.
3 hours later the owner of the vineyard went
back and hired some more men for the same daily salary.
He did the same at the 6th and the 9th hour.
He also went back at the 11th hour and hired more men to
work just one hour for the same pay as those he had hired before.
So all the men that were hired made the same amount of money
despite how many hours they worked.
owner of the vineyard had one of his workers pay the men that were hired
for the day. He began to pay
those who came to work at the end of the day and work his way back to
those who had worked all day. By
so doing, those who had worked longer hours saw how much money those who
had worked less hours got. They
were not happy with this. They
thought it was quite unfair, them working 12 hours and making the same pay
as those working one hour.
verse 14 we note that it was the desire of the owner to pay those who came
to work later the same salary. Besides, as the owner states, those who
started working in the morning agreed to the money that they would make
verse 15 the owner asks, “don’t I have the right to do what I want
with my own money”? This
is important because it speaks to the very nature of God.
One thing it says is that God has ultimate authority because He has
created all things, and all things belong to Him, therefore, He can do
what He wants with His things. It’s
His prerogative to do whatever He wants.
owner asks another question in verse 15 that speaks to the nature of God
and that question is, “are you envious that I am so generous”?
You see, the workers who started working early agreed to the amount
they would make. If they
weren’t happy with that amount, they could have refused the work.
The work they did for that day was a good salary.
But when they saw that those who worked one hour for the same
amount of money, they viewed that as unfair.
owner did not view this as being unfair, because those who began earlier
than others agreed to the pay. The
owner sees his actions as being generous, not unfair, that is, generous to
those who started work late. When
the owner saw these men standing in the market place he asked them why
they had been standing around all day.
They told him that no one wanted to hire them.
To me this suggests that the owner of the vineyard felt sorry for
these men so he brought them to work and paid them as it they worked all
day. The owner considered that
to be generous.
what you see here is two ways of looking at the same event.
One way is worldly and selfish.
That is the way of the early workers.
The other way is full of mercy and grace, and that’s the way of
the owner, which in fact is the way of God.
Jesus concludes in verse 16 that the last will be first and the first will
be last. This is not the first
time Jesus has said this. He’s
said it many times to show that the way things work in the
might also look at Jesus’ words in connection with the Gentiles.
All along in Old Testament days God promised much to Israel if they
would follow him, but then later on in history He promises the same to
Gentiles, something the Jews had a had time believing could or would
I’ve said earlier, ever since the transfiguration Jesus spoke more of
His death. At this point He
speaks of it again because it is now that He will begin His last trip, and
the trip will end in
Jesus doesn’t end things here. He
tells His followers that He will rise on the third day.
I’m not convinced that they really understood the resurrection at
this point. If they had of
understood, they would not have been so hard to be convinced after He rose
from the dead, and they might have reacted much differently when Jesus was
note here that Jesus did not speak in the first person singular about
Himself here. He did not say,
“I will be put to death”. As
He did most of the time, if not all of the time when speaking of His death
He said, “the Son of Man will be put to death”.
The Son of Man is a
Messianic term, therefore His followers should have clued in, at least a
bit, that Jesus’ death had something to do with Him being the Messiah.
verse 20 we see the mother of Zebedee’s son make a request of Jesus.
Zebedee’s sons were James and John.
There mother, the one making the request was most likely named
Salome, the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
request was more than a casual request because she fell to her knees
before Jesus as she made the request.
She certainly was hoping for a positive answer.
verse 21 Jesus asks her what she wanted.
She responded by saying that she wanted one son to sit at Jesus’
right side, and the other at His left side in the
seems a strange time and place to ask Jesus such a question.
He had just told His followers that He was to die, and now this
mother asks Jesus such a thing.
She might well have thought that things were soon coming to an end,
and that the
also strange that James and John were with their mother while she made the
request. You might think that
they should be the one to ask Jesus such a question.
verse 22 Jesus tells them, as in all of them, not just the mother, that
they did not know what they were talking about.
This is clear. Jesus’
followers for the most part did not understand much about His death,
resurrection, ascension, or the coming
asks them a question. He asks,
“can you drink the cup I am going to drink”?
The cup that Jesus was speaking about was the “cup of His
death”. He often spoke of
His death as being something He would drink, maybe to refer back to the
Old Testament drink offerings.
The cross was truly an offering unto the Lord God.
to whom this question was asked were convinced that they could drink of
whatever cup that Jesus was speaking of, even though I do not believe they
understood what Jesus meant by these words.
in verse 23 Jesus says that they will indeed drink of this cup.
It’s my thinking that this meant that these men would suffer
greatly because of Jesus, suffer even as Jesus suffered.
And this came true for those who followed Jesus.
Many of them were killed for the relationship with Jesus.
also says that it was not up to Him who would sit in a place of authority
in the coming
be expected, in verse 24, after the other ten apostles
heard of this request, they were very upset.
I can picture them in a heated argument over this matter.
whole mentality of the Twelve that is displayed here is one of
a matter of pride based on the social position one finds himself
in. Each one of these
men wanted to be the “top dog”.
Yet Jesus responds to them how it will be in the
verse 25 Jesus says, “… the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over
them”. This means that the
rulers in the Gentile world “lord it over” the Gentiles.
They are dictators.
goes on to say, “their officials exercise authority over them”.
The word authority is important.
The rulers are in an elevated place of authority and they use this
authority in a dominating way. The
general populous is forced to submit or else.
verse 26 Jesus makes it clear that His followers should not have this
attitude by saying, “not so with you”. The mentality of Christian
leadership should not be one of a dictator.
We are not to exercise authority over others as world leaders do
over their domain.
then goes on to explain in verse 26 what this means, and how it works. He
says, “whoever among you want to be great must become your servant”.
Greatness in the eyes of God and in His kingdom is all about
serving, not lording it over others. Leaders
verse 27 Jesus continues by saying, “whoever wants to be first must be
your slave”. This is just
the opposite to the thinking of the world.
Leaders must be servants or slaves, but this is seldom the case in
the church today.
verse 28 Jesus says that the “Son of Man”, that’s Jesus,
“did not come to be served, but to serve”.
We are to follow Jesus in this respect.
Whether we are a leader or not, we are to serve.
We should not have the attitude that we need to be served.
thing that Jesus is trying to do in this section, and maybe in all He
teaches, but particularly here, is to get the disciples minds thinking in
a new direction. It’s no
longer the Law or Moses but it’s all about Jesus, and following Him.
That’s the new direction.
section ends with the idea that Jesus has come to give His life “as a
ransom for many”. The
whole idea of a ransom is to pay some kind of a price to set someone else
free. Kidnappers kidnap
someone and demand a price in order to have their victim set free.
This is what Jesus did. He
paid the price for our freedom, freedom from sin and the result of sin.
The main result of sin is death.
We are free from eternal death.
is one thing we need to understand concerning this ransom.
Jesus did not pay the ransom to the devil but to God.
The devil is not the one who sends people to the
verses 29 and 30 we see Jesus leaving
verse 31 we see that the crowd rebuked these two blind men and told them
to be quiet. But they
continued to beg Jesus for mercy, and they shouted even louder.
These two men were not going to give up.
They were persistent. Such
persistence is important in the
verse 32 Jesus stopped and asked these two men what they wanted Him to do.
Now these men were blind, and most totally blind men are visibly
blind. Everyone would know
what these two men wanted from Jesus, so by asking them this question,
Jesus had something specific in mind.
Jesus knew what they wanted, but often times it seems that Jesus
wants us to acknowledge and verbally say what we want.
As we speak to Jesus in our request it opens up the door of trust.
It confronts us with the opportunity to trust Him.
verse 33 the men call Jesus Lord which show the respect they have for Him,
and told Jesus that they wanted to receive their sight.
verse 34 Matthew tells us that Jesus had compassion on them, touched their
eyes and they were healed. There
are at least two reasons why Jesus healed everyone that came in contact
with Him. One reason is stated
here and that is He had compassion on people.
The other reason is that He backed up His words with these
miracles. They were proof of
who He claimed to be. Jesus
did not merely heal people because they all had lots of faith.
Faith wasn’t always the issue when Jesus healed people.
Many people did not have faith in Him.
Many simply heard rumors about Jesus and hoped He would heal them,
and He did. We really
wouldn’t call that saving faith.