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 Matthew 20?

WHat's with this passage? First Jesus tells us that all will be treated equally in Heaven, no matter at what point in our lives we become saved. (What really confuses me about this passage is that it implies that people saved in heaven grumble! about anything) Next when the two mothers ask Jesus for their sons to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in heaven, He tells them that the station of people in heaven will be decided by God the Father alone. But this contradicts the earlier passage that implies that everyone's station in heaven will be the same. I don't get it.

Jake

The Laborers in the Vineyard
20 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,a he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. 6And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, 'Why are you standing here idle all day?' 7They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard.' 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, 'Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.' 9When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.b 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.c 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, '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.' 13But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?d 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?'e 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last."f

A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
17 While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, 18"See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; 19then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised."
The Request of the Mother of James and John
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. 21And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?"g They said to him, "We are able." 23He said to them, "You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

 2004/4/26 10:14
InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: Matthew 20?

Quote:
First Jesus tells us that all will be treated equally in Heaven, no matter at what point in our lives we become saved.



That's quite an assumption Jake. How did you come to the conclusion that this is what Jesus is saying through this parable? Can you give us your interpretation of this parable in detail?

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2004/4/26 12:49Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re: Matthew 20?

You can do better than that, Jake, if you're trying to show that Scripture seems to indicate both equality and difference of reward in heaven.

I'm not taking a particular position here, just quoting some passages that I'd like explained myself.

Matthew 20
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 they should have received more; and they [b]likewise[/b] received [b]every man[/b] a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they [b]murmured against[/b] the master of the house,
12 saying, `These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them [b]equal[/b] unto us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'
13 But he answered one of them and said, `Friend, [b]I do thee no wrong[/b]. Didst thou not agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that which is thine and go thy way. I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 [b]Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?[/b] Is thine eye evil, because I am good?'

So, in this parable, the workers are given the same wage regardless of how much of the day they actually worked (which I think, as you seem to, represents the stage in their life when they converted). I think there's a degree of emphasis on the idea that the master is being generous to those who worked less, and that no one can rightly object to the master being generous if he wants to. Does this mean that everyone gets the same reward in Heaven? In a sense, every Christian (true Christian, mind you) gets the same reward: salvation. But there's a number of verses that speak of some being greater or lesser than others in "the Kingdom of Heaven" or receiving more or less reward.

Matthew 5:19
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the [b][u]least[/u] in the Kingdom of Heaven[/b]; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called [b][u]great[/u] in the Kingdom of Heaven[/b].

2 John 1
6 And this is love: that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
7 For many deceivers have entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we [b]lose[/b] not those things which we have wrought, but that we may receive a [b][u]full[/u] reward[/b].

Would the Apostle say "full reward" unless there were some possibility of receiving less (or none)? I'm interested to know what people know about this verse, as I'm making a very face-value interpretation here.

Matthew 5
11 Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for [b]great[/b] is your [b]reward [u]in[/u] Heaven[/b]; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 6
19 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal;
20 but [b]lay up for yourselves [u]treasures[/u] in Heaven[/b], where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 18
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, "Who is the [b]greatest[/b] in the Kingdom of Heaven?"
2 And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, "Verily I say unto you, unless ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is [b]greatest[/b] in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Would the word "greatest" be used if there were not lesser?

Mark 10:21
Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said unto him, "One thing thou lackest: Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor, and [b]thou shalt have treasure in Heaven[/b]; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

Is this referring to salvation, or some kind of reward? (I think the Catholics like to use this one)

Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall [b]reward[/b] every man [b]according[/b] to his [b]works[/b].

That wouldn't sit well with a lot of people's theology.

Luke 6:35
But love ye your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your [b]reward[/b] shall be [b]great[/b], and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

1 Corinthians 3
7 So then, neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God who giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one, and every man shall [b]receive[/b] his own [b]reward according to his own labor[/b].
9 For we are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For no man can lay another foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble,
13 every man's work shall be made manifest; for the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall test every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's [b]work[/b] abide which he hath built thereon, he shall [b]receive a reward[/b].
15 If any man's [b]work[/b] shall be burned, he shall [b]suffer loss[/b]; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as fire.

So we've got two people, both going to Heaven ("saved"), one getting a reward, the other suffering loss, according to how their work stands up?

Revelation 22
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
12 "And behold, I come quickly, and My [b]reward[/b] is with Me, to give to every man [b]according[/b] as his [b]work[/b] shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

According to our works? I presume this passage isn't particularly popular.

I was primarily looking for verses that seem to indicate different rewards in Heaven, anyone know some other good ones (other than the passage in Matthew 20, that is) that support equality of reward?

Or is it perhaps the case (this isn't rhetorical, it's a genuine question) that there is little if any support for such a concept, and the parable in question isn't really saying the reward will be equal?

God's grace be with you all, in Christ Jesus our Lord,
-Keith

 2004/4/26 13:11Profile









 Re:

Keith, I'm not trying to show anything. It just seems like the two passages are saying different, conflicting things.

Neither of you responded to the "grumbling" comment. That is perhaps even more confusing to me: people granted salvation are grumbling in heaven about others receiving the same gift??

Jake

 2004/4/26 13:51
InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: confused

Quote:
Neither of you responded to the "grumbling" comment. That is perhaps even more confusing to me: people granted salvation are grumbling in heaven about others receiving the same gift??



It certainly is confusing if you accept this meaning of the parable that you are giving. Again, can you give us details on why you are interpreting it this way?

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2004/4/26 14:20Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:
Neither of you responded to the "grumbling" comment. That is perhaps even more confusing to me: people granted salvation are grumbling in heaven about others receiving the same gift??


It's a parable, not a prophecy, but what difference that makes is somewhat unclear.

Some differences come to mind, however, between the parable and our actual relationship with Christ:

1)
Matthew 20
1 "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who went out early in the morning to [b]hire[/b] laborers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had [b]agreed with the laborers[/b] for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Does the Lord hire us? Does he negotiate with us our wages? Do we work, and He owe us wages (or anything)?

6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said unto them, `Why stand ye here all the day idle?'
7 They said unto him, `Because no man hath hired us.' He said unto them, `[b]Go ye also into the vineyard[/b], and whatsoever is [b]right[/b], that shall ye [b]receive[/b].'

Does He tell us to work for Him, and promise to give us what is right (or rightly deserved)?

11 And when they had received it, they [b]murmured [u]against the master[/u] of the house[/b],
12 saying, `These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'

Complaining against God is sin, those in Heaven will not sin. I realize this is your initial point, I'm just trying to show the ways in which this parable does not hold tightly to a Christian's relationship with Jesus Christ.

13 But he answered one of them and said, `Friend, I do thee no wrong. Didst thou not agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that which is [b]thine[/b] and [b]go thy way[/b]. I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

Will we be given our reward and told to depart? No, because we are not hired labor, we are servants (bondservants, i.e. slaves for life, as some translations render it) and adopted sons (and daughters) of God.

I'm interested to know what other people make of the parable, which is about the Kingdom of Heaven, but bears significant differences to the relationship of Christians to Jesus Christ.

If I weren't so lazy I'd go look it up in some commentaries...

 2004/4/26 14:24Profile









 Re: ron

Ron,
"For the Kingdom of Heaven is like . . ." isn't this obviously a parable about heaven? DOesn't it clearly indicate that people having spent various times working in the vinyard get the same reward?

Jake

 2004/4/26 15:57
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Quote:
isn't this obviously a parable about heaven?



Yes, oviously it is about heaven, but what aspect of heaven? Could this parable be illustrating the equity with which God deals with all men, Jew and Gentile, concerning [i]admittance[/i] to heaven?

Why do you see the grumbling as taking place in heaven? Who among men at that time might be grumbling about others coming into the privledges and advantages of the vineyard?

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2004/4/26 16:25Profile
Gideons
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Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 474
Virginia

 Re:

Ron,

I'm no theologian by any stretch but I believe this refers to admittance as you said.

As far as the treasures in heaven, sometimes I get tired of talking about having a gold house and all this stuff in heaven (what could be more reward than to be in Jesus presence?).

I'm praying for a reward that consists of other people the Lord has touched because He has allowed me to be broken and show His love to others.

When I think back on all of the people God has used in my life, I think when they see me they will realize my presence in heaven is in part due to their obedience to God. I'm not talking about boasting about how great we are or spiritual pride, but because God loved us, He enabled us to love others and speak to them through the power of His Spirit.

One such man in my life (from when I was 12), I wrote him a letter and explained to him how God had used him to sustain me during a difficult time in my life. He sent me a letter back shortly before he died and I will never forget him.

May his love shine in our hearts. Perhaps I drifted off topic here and if so I apologize...


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Ed Pugh

 2004/4/26 19:07Profile
JKail
Member



Joined: 2004/2/29
Posts: 34


 Re:

I think that the people who are grumbling could be compared to the older son in the prodigal son parable. They are upset because someone who lived in sin there entire life is now coming to Christ in his last days and reciving salvation. (like the thief on the cross next to Christ) I do not believe that they are grumbling in heaven but here on earth.

God is trying to say that none of us deserve salvation, we are saved by grace and should rejoice when others are saved, especially when they are saved just before death. The attitude of the Older Son is that of a Pharisee, and we need to avoid it. Whether we are called when we are 5 years old or when we are 100 years old, it is by grace. Thats my take, I hope it helps.

-Jake Kail


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Jake Kail

 2004/4/26 19:08Profile





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