Summary: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
Comparing Paychecks: Are you being Paid What You’re Worth?
September 24th, 2006
Intro: This morning we’re going to turn our attention back to the book of Matthew. We’re drawing near to the end of the book and Jesus is stepping up His ministry and the teaching that He’s doing with His disciples to prepare them for the days ahead, when He will be taken from them and their faith will be tested like never before. We’ve seen a lot happen as we’ve gone through these first 20 chapters together. We looked at the genealogy of Christ and the way that Matthew used it to weave the two Testaments together so that we could see the plan of God as it unfolded throughout the pages of Scripture and we looked at the fact that He fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies of what line the Savior would be born into. We looked at the ministry of John the Baptist and the way that he pointed to the coming ministry of Christ. We saw the baptism of Christ and the public affirmation of His identity that God made that day. We listened to the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus took everything that the people knew and turned it upside down showing them that they could not possibly find salvation through the law. We’ve read of his encounters with the Pharisees, those men who oppressed and intimidated the Jewish people into living a religious life that was impossible to maintain. Through all of these discourses, one thing became very clear, God was not impressed with the outside, the shell, He wanted the heart. All of the things that the Pharisees had made religion into were not what God desired. He wanted that outer change, but He wanted it to flow from a changed heart.
As Jesus’ ministry grew, we have seen his popularity grow as well. Now, wherever he goes, large crowds follow and wait expectantly for Him to do something or to say something. We’ve talked about His authority over nature, calming the sea and walking on water. We’ve seen His authority over the body, healing the sick, making the lame to walk and the blind to see, raising Lazarus from the dead, just to name a few! We’ve seen Him show authority in spiritual matters as well. He has driven out demons with a word and challenged the religious hierarchy of that day. We have read and listened to a lot of things in the last few months that give testimony to the uniqueness of this man, Jesus. They also back His claims that He is the Messiah and that He is the Son of the Living God who has come for the unrighteous, the sinner, and to set the captive free. That’s all good, but we haven’t even gotten to the best parts yet! As the crowds grew, Jesus continued to teach, but with a new twist. He began to teach the people in parables; Stories that were drawn from typical, everyday Jewish life that everyone could understand on some level. He taught this way to separate those who were simply looking for a show from those who were genuinely seeking an encounter with the Son of God. Those who were looking, would see a deeper spiritual meaning to the stories and their lives would be forever changed by the Truth. He talked about fishing and planting, about treasures and sheep. As we come to our text this morning, Jesus has used many parables with the crowds and with His disciples and he teaches them once more using a story.
We’re going to be looking at chapter 20 this morning and the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. It’s important, before we begin, to take a quick look back at what’s just happened. The chapter starts with the word “for.” This means that the story hinges upon what just happened or what was just discussed. At the end of chapter 19, we have the story of the rich young man. He has just walked away from Jesus after Christ commanded him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. The point being, not that money is bad or that wealth is evil, but that nothing should stand in the way or take higher priority in life than the call of Christ. Jesus cut right to the heart and asked the man to give up that which was most important to him, his wealth. He was promised treasure in heaven but the rich young man could only walk away sadly, unwilling to follow Christ at so great a cost.
This exchange sparks a conversation with the disciples and reveals how far Peter still needs to go in his understanding of the Kingdom that he has pledged his life to. The disciples ask about salvation and rewards and Peter says this: