Anthony Gammage – Matthew 20:1-16
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘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.’ ] But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”
You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.
“[Standing in the Kingdom of God] depends on the sheer unmerited favor of the only one who is ultimately good (19:17) and who accepts those who could never be good, in order that this free grace may produce in them genuinely good works. These good works are not meritorious deeds for life: they are responsive, grateful behavior springing form the life that God in his generously has given them.”
“Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people – for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way and atone for our own sins. We like to think that we will go to heaven because we deserve to be there.”
Romans 3:10–11, 23-24
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more
“There is a high sense of entitlement in our modern culture – We should be concerned by a pervasive sense of rights. God is the ultimate provider of our needs and desires. Every good gift comes from him, directly or providentially. Our sense of entitlement is always directed at God. But this will kill us spiritually. God will not ‘give in’ to our sense of rights or respond to pressure tactics. We never win the battle of “rights” with God. He cares too much about our spiritual growth to let that happen.”
“So where does this leave us? In the blessed position of being 11th hour workers in God’s kingdom. It leaves us going home at the end of the day from God’s vineyard profoundly grateful, knowing that the gracious landowner has been generous beyond all measure. In a word, it leaves us content, and ‘godliness with contentment is great gain(1 Tim 6:6) .’”
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”