Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Part 1
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first. For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’ So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they murmured against the landlord, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 19:30 – 20:16).
IDEA: God will be a debtor to no one.
PURPOSE: To help listeners realize that it will be rewarding to serve Jesus Christ.
Have you ever asked, “If I work for Christ, what’s in it for me?” Do you think that’s a legitimate question for someone to raise?
Does it sound very “spiritual” to raise it?
I. Peter raised that question in Matthew 19:27: “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”
Why did Peter bring up the issue?
It came as a result of an interview Jesus had with a wealthy young man (Matthew 19:16-22).
What is the essence of the interview?
The young man was interested in working his way into God’s kingdom. He was basically asking for a contract. And Jesus gave him a contract, but he couldn’t sign on the dotted line because of his wealth. In order to show this young man that he had not kept the commandments, Jesus put His finger on his purse (Matthew 19:21).
In response to that, Peter asked this question: “We’ve left everything to follow You. What’s in it for us?” In essence, Peter is saying that “we have done what that young man wouldn’t do.”
II. Think of the ways Jesus might have responded to Peter’s question:
He could have humiliated Peter: “And what exactly did you give up to follow Me?”
Jesus could have said, “You’ve spent two years with Me. Do you really think that you would have preferred to stay with those fish than with Me?”
III. Look at how Jesus does respond to Peter’s question:
He deals with Peter gently: He says, in effect, that God is never a debtor to anyone.
In the future Peter would have eternal life.
He would be able to rule with Christ (Matthew 19:28).
He would be repaid for anything he had given up for Christ (Matthew 19:29).
In essence, the best is yet to come in the future when we enter reality.
Then Jesus said something else that seems to muddy the water: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
What do you think this means?
God does not operate on the basis of fairness but on the basis of His grace.