Matt. 19:27-20:16 – God’s Generosity, Eternal Life, Part II
After hearing Jesus tell the rich man what he needed to do to get Eternal Life the disciplines wonder what it is that they will get in that they have left everything to follow him. To them (specifically) he promised that they would recieve one-hundred fold of anything they’d given up in service to him. But then he adds: “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matt. 19:30)
This is to say, yes, they would share in the Lord’s Kingdom and recieve “a hundred-fold” but it won’t be like it is in a “normal” one-for-one exchange. It’s the Kingdom of Heaven where things run in an opposite fashion, where the lowly are lifted up. He illustrates his point with the parable of the landowner and his vineyard (Matt. 20: 1-16).
In the parable the landowner goes out in the beginning of the day and hires workers for a denarius. Then throughout the day he goes back to the marketplace and finds additional workers to hire. At the end of the day (a twelve hour workday!) he has the foreman pay the workers beginning with the last ones hired. When the ones hired earlier see that these last ones are given a full day’s wage they expect more and are upset because they end up with the same denarius that the others recieved. Essentially they recieved what they agreed upon and the others recieved out of the landowners generosity. Jesus’ point, I think, is that we all recieve from God out of his generosity even though our lives and sacrifices are hardly the same. Getting back to the point that we’re doing this not because of what we will get, but because of what He means to us and His gift of love to us first. JBB 7/14/2005
image by Krisztina Felix, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kikasz/4797835887/