Summary: Those who follow Jesus inherit eternal life. Those who believe, those who submit, those who obey get heaven instead of hell. Believer in Jesus Christ, what’s in it for you? Eternity in God’s presence. Eternity in God’s family. Eternity reigning with
Those who follow Jesus inherit eternal life. Those who believe, those who submit, those who obey get heaven instead of hell. Believer in Jesus Christ, what’s in it for you? Eternity in God’s presence. Eternity in God’s family. Eternity reigning with Jesus over the new heavens and the new earth. That’s the answer to the question Peter asks! Now Jesus confronts the attitude with which Peter asks it. Follow as I read Matthew 19:30-20-16. There’s something Jesus wants to make clear to the disciples. There’s something Jesus wants to make clear to you and me.
After answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Jesus offers this caution. Beginning with verse 30, He continues, But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About the third hour he went out and say others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.” The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against he landowner, “These men who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.” But he answered one of them, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have a right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first and the first will be last.
Jesus does more than answer Peter’s question. He addresses the attitude with which the question is asked. And that attitude was an attitude of pride rooted in the disciples’ diehard affection for salvation based on merit rather than grace. The rich young ruler walks away because he loves his money more than he loves Jesus. Peter immediately responds, “Lord, look at us. We’re better than him. We did what he wouldn’t do, didn’t we Jesus? We left our homes. We left our families. We left our money so we could come and follow you. We’re not like that other guy, are we Jesus? We’ve special. We’ve been with you from the start.
Do you hear it? Can you sense that on some level the disciples are thinking that God owes them—that somehow both their sacrifice and their position put them on a higher spiritual plane than other believers who, in future generations, will serve God in less glorious ways?
It’s a dangerous attitude and Jesus moves to nip in the bud. With this parable Jesus makes it clear—God’s rewards are never based on human merit. They are always based on God’s grace.