Summary: We have a generous and gracious God, who loves and cares for us. He saw our need and came to our rescue. We are simply blessed, by His grace.
20:1 “The kingdom of heaven is like…” It is a description of how God’s Kingdom functions. It is about how God treats his people.
Why did Jesus tell this parable?
• This parable grew out of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man.
• He is young and capable. In fact, he kept the commandments (19:20).
• Basing on what he has accomplished, he ought to be given eternal life.
• Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him (19:16-22). He cannot do it and he left.
9:25 The disciples were greatly astonished. Jesus turned away such a ‘good man’.
• Peter, reflecting on all this, said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” [Read 9:25-30]
Jesus assures him there will be great blessings for him and His disciples.
• In fact, God will bless them 100 times, more than what they deserved.
• Not because of your merit but because of God’s grace and love for you.
Jesus saw the error - man wanted to rely on their own effort to get God’s blessing.
• But in God’s Kingdom, God bless us out of His grace and love.
• And so he went on to tell a parable.
A landowner went out to hire workers for his vineyard.
• He agreed to pay them a denarius, which was one day’s wage.
• In the culture of that day, workers lived a day-to-day existence.
• They needed money each day to buy food for their families.
• That’s why in Deut 24:15, landowners were instructed to pay a hired man “his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it.”.
The landowner went out at the third hour (9.00am, Jewish day starts at 6.00am), and saw many still jobless, standing in the marketplace.
• So he hired them and said, “I will pay you whatever is right.” (v.4)
He went out again at 12.00pm, 3.00pm and even at 5.00pm and saw people standing there without a job.
• Not because they are lazy, but verse 7 says “no one has hired us.” So this landowner asked them to go and work in his vineyard.
By 5.00pm the work on most plantations would have been winding down.
• These workers have already lost all hope of being hired. Who would want to hire you at 5.00pm?
• Yet on this particular day it was different. They met a very generous landowner. Frankly, how much can they do in that one hour?
• It was quite clear that the landowner wasn’t thinking about his work in the vineyard. He was thinking about the unemployed. He has compassion on them. He was concerned for their welfare.
They needed him more than he needs them. He hired them, not because he really needed workers, but because these workers needed his help.
The Lord wants us to understand that our heavenly Father is just like that. God loves us and cares for us. We may not be able to do much for Him but that’s not the most important. God has chosen to love us, even while we are still sinners.
At the end of the day, at 6.00pm the landowner calls them and pays them.
• Each worker, regardless of how long he had worked, received a day’s wages.
• He received not what he deserved (if you go by hourly basis), but what he needed to sustain his family for a day.
• It is not really what they earn, it is a gift. It is grace.
That’s how our God treats us. If it is based on work, we fall short.
• Rom 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
• Eph 2:8-9 “8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We are saved by grace. We are now living under God’s grace.
• Sometimes, we fall back into the wrong thinking. We think about our good works. That God owe it to us, to bless us, because we have done many works and sacrifices. That our good performances warrant God’s blessings.
• If we think that way, we have fallen back into living by works, not by grace.
The rich man asked, “What good think must I do to get eternal life?” (v.16) Peter asked, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (v.27) What should I get in return to all this that I have done?
Remember the story of the prodigal son?... Luke 15:11ff.