June 28: A Parable of Grace (Matthew 19:27-20:16)
This Sunday Brandon Jordan will continue a series on theology in the youth room at 9:00am addressing how God's words come to our ears and hearts...how we learn and know the word of God. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project on the importance of interpreting Scripture in its proper context, whether that's literary, historical, theological, or otherwise.
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.Laborers in the Vineyard
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” (ESV)
In chapters 19 and 20 we see the contrast between the conventional wisdom of men and the divine wisdom of God when it comes to grace. While the parable of the workers in the vineyard seems to us as unfairness, Jesus shows us through this story that God is generous to all and does not play favorites. These workers entering the vineyard at different times all get the same wage. While it seems unfair, Jesus is showing God to be very fair and gracious to all, making sure all are cared for, even those who enter work in the kingdom later in life. God's economy of grace is on another scale than ours and we will be thankful for it.
Review and Apply
- How does Jesus answer Peter's question with this parable?
- Who are the workers and why are they all paid the same?
- What does this teach us about rewards in the kingdom? Is it wrong to desire rewards?
- What kingdom work do you currently do?
- What do you learn about God's severity in his distributing the rewards?
- How has God been generous in your life?
- How does this prepare us for his return?