Vv 1-16: Lessons of the parable: "Labourers should work in
faith that the Lord will justly and amply compensate (Pro 3:9,10), and not seek
payment according to esteemed worth, by comparing with others (cp 2Co 10:12)"
God is generous to some, while not being unjust to others.
Purpose: to illustrate Mat 19:30: "But many who are first will
be last, and many who are last will be first."
We all are standing idle, until called by God to work in his
3rd (v 3), 6th, and 9th hours are associated with preaching of
gospel to Gentiles: Acts 2:15; 10:3,9.
BECAUSE NO ONE HAS HIRED US: Never can a follower of
Christ have this excuse.
KJV has: "and whatsoever is right, that shall ye
BEGINNING WITH THE LAST ONES HIRED AND GOING ON TO THE
FIRST: Cp Mat 19:30; 20:16.
EACH ONE OF THEM ALSO RECEIVED A DENARIUS: Each worker
received the same wages: ie, "whatever is right" (vv 4,7n). "Behold, I am coming
soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has
done" (Rev 22:12). Christ brings as his reward... either life OR death: 2Co
THEY BEGAN TO GRUMBLE: Like Israel in the wilderness:
The jealousy and envy of Mat 18! "We do not dare to classify
or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure
themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not
wise" (2Co 10:12).
FRIEND: Gr "hetairos" is not a term of endearment, but
a rather cold term by comparison: one of comradeship or partnership (Vine). It
is used on only 2 other occasions, once of the man with no wedding garment (Mat
22:12), and the other time when Jesus speaks to Judas as he was betrayed (Mat
GO: Something like "go thy way" -- a dismissal or a
rejection. The workers who grumble receive their rightful wages, but are then
dismissed from employment. Implication: the others remain!
"Provided he has been just in all his dealings, does he not
have the right to do what he wants with his money? The NIV translates 'is your
eye evil' (AV and lit Gr) by 'are you envious,' because the 'evil eye' was an
idiom used to refer to jealousy (cf Deu 15:9; 1Sa 18:9; Pro 23:6; see Mat
These rhetorical questions (vv 13b,15) show that God's great
gifts, simply because they are God's, are distributed, not because they are
earned, but because he is gracious... Jesus is not laying down principles for
resolving union-management disputes. On the contrary, the principle in the world
is that he who works the longest receives the most pay. That is just. But in the
kingdom of God the principles of merit and ability may be set aside so that
grace can prevail" (EBC).
Many accept the invitation of the gospel, but few are judged
"Do not take your salvation for granted... At our baptism, we
do not step onto a smooth, effortless moving sidewalk that will automatically
carry us comfortably into the Kingdom, though many act as though they assume
this is so. Rather we stand at the foot of a steep and rugged hill, and there is
no ski-lift. That hill is our probation: the 'working out of our salvation with
fear and trembling.' God knows the height and degree of difficulty of our hill,
and He knows the lifespan before us that He has given us to climb it. We shall
need ALL that time, and all the available help He has provided and promised in
so many ways. How long is it since your baptism? How far up the hill of God have
you faithfully climbed? There are tempting but fatal relaxing places along the
way, among them that deceptive worldly conceit called 'retirement.' Are you in
one of them? The day draws on, and the top is still above you" (GVG).
"Why is it that the last shall be first? What is it that makes
this so difficult to accept? The answer came in the form of an ugly little dog.
Sophie has taken over our hearts and in many respects our house. She is not
particularly pretty (one ear stands up and one lies down, and she has patches of
hair that inexplicably shoot up like a lion's mane); nor does she have any
pedigree. She is, however, a good little dog and clearly loves us. She follows
me wherever I go all over the house. She can't stand to be away from me. When I
do go away and come into the house, I receive a greeting of a king. When I walk
into the house, this little dog is celebrating like this is the most miraculous
thing that has even happened -- her master came home!
"Isn't this a little how God views us? Let's face it, we don't
provide God with a whole lot of value. He doesn't really 'need' us any more than
I 'need' my dog. What we do provide Him is love, devotion and faithfulness. When
Jesus comes back, will we celebrate like my dog celebrates when I come home? Or
will we be like the bad dog who has spent the day chewing the sofa cushion, and
then slinks off to hide? Do we follow our Master wherever He will lead us? Do we
obey commands? Is our love demonstrative to Jesus in the way my dog's love is to
"Many of the qualities we attribute to great men --
intelligence, boldness, speaking abilities, education, beauty, wealth, etc --
mean absolutely nothing to God. In fact, these attributes can impede our service
to God if they translate into pride. God loves us because we love Him (even
though He loved us first!), and even if we are like ugly little dogs!
" 'Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not
many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many
were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the
wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the
lowly things of this world and the despised things -- and the things that are
not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him' (1Co
UP TO JERUSALEM: His face set like a flint (Isa 50:7).
The good shepherd going before his sheep (Joh 10:4).
...And still they argue about who is the greatest: vv
THE MOTHER OF ZEBEDEE'S SONS: Salome, who ministered to
Christ (Mat 27:56; Mar 15:40; 16:1; Luk 8:2,3).
This request is also made by James and John themselves: Mar
Soon she would see Christ crucified, with two thieves on his
right and left. Is this the "place" they want!?
Note that Jesus does not question their sincerity.
CUP: Sym judgment (Psa 11:6; 75:8; Jer 49:12; Lam 4:21;
Hab 2:16), God's fury (Isa 51:17,22; Rev 14:10; 16:19); suffering (Eze
23:31-33). Cp thought in Joh 18:11.
The KJV also has: "and to be baptized with the baptism that I
am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able."
For "baptism", see Psa 69:1,2; 42:7; 124:4: where sig to be
engulfed with waves of sorrow, and threatened with drowning.
For "we are able": Of the 12, James was the first to die (Acts
12:2), and John was the last.
They would suffer also: cp Act 14:22; 2Ti 2:11,12; 1Co 15:29n;
LORD IT OVER THEM: Calling themselves "Benefactors" --
a title (Luk 22:25n).
Generally, see Mat 5:19; 18:4; 20:16; Joh
SERVANT: Allusion to the Suffering Servant of Isa 53 --
who justifies many by pouring out his life unto death (c v 28 here).
"[Jesus] made himself nothing, taking the form (or 'morphe':
position) of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in
appearance ('schema': condition) as a man, he humbled himself and became
obedient to death -- even death on a cross!" (Phi 2:7,8).
THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE:
Christ's own example: 1Pe 2:21-23; Isa 53:11.
RANSOM: "Lutron": means of loosing, ie from the law of
Moses: cp 1Ti 2:6; Rom 3:24. See Lesson, Redemption.
FOR MANY: "Anti": thus, "in place of many", ie the many
sacrifices of the Law of Moses. Not "a ransom on behalf of many".
Was Jesus leaving (Mat 20:29; Mar 10:46) or approaching (Luk
18:35) Jericho? Prob he was between an old part of the city and the new part of
the city -- hence the difference.
JERICHO: The city of palm trees, who lift up righteous
hands to heaven (Psa 92:12; Song 7:7). Also the city of the curse (Jos
TWO BLIND MEN: One of whom was named Bartimaeus (Mar
10:46). Typifies the blind Gentiles, healed by Christ, the "Light of the
SITTING: And begging (Mar 10:46; Luk 18:35). A man must
be conscious of his poverty before he starts to beg.
SON OF DAVID: An acknowledgment of the Messiahship of
ALL THE LOUDER: Like the widow in Luk 18:1-8.
Mar 10:50 adds "Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his
feet and came to Jesus."
They leave the city of the curse (see Mar 10:46n), and follows
Jesus to Jerusalem, the city of blessing.
AND TOUCHED THEM: All the occasions of Jesus touching,
or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in
John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10;
5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15;