Matthew 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Laborers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like [a]a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a [b]denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the [c]third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. 5 Again he went out about the [d]sixth and the ninth hour, and did [e]the same thing. 6 And about the [f]eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he *said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ 7 They *said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He *said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’
8 “When evening came, the [g]owner of the vineyard *said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ 9 When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a [h]denarius. 10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; [i]but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye [j]envious because I am [k]generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”
Death, Resurrection Foretold
17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be [l]delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to [m]Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” 23 He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His [n]life a ransom for many.”
Sight for the Blind
29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They *said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
Matthew 20 The Voice (VOICE)
20 Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is like a wealthy landowner who got up early in the morning and went out, first thing, to hire workers to tend his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a day’s wage[a] for the day’s work. The workers headed to the vineyard while the landowner headed home to deal with some paperwork. 3 About three hours later, he went back to the marketplace. He saw some unemployed men standing around with nothing to do.
Landowner: 4 Do you need some work? Go over to my vineyard and join the crew there. I’ll pay you well.
So off they went to join the crew at the vineyard. 5 About three hours later, and then three hours after that, the landowner went back to the market and saw another crew of men and hired them, too, sending them off to his vineyard and promising to pay them well. 6 Then finally late in the afternoon, at the cusp of night, the landowner walked again through the marketplace, and he saw other workers still standing around.
Landowner: Why have you been standing here all day, doing nothing?
Workers: 7 Because no one has hired us.
Landowner: Well, you should go over to my vineyard and work.
And off the workers went. 8 When quitting time arrived, the landowner called to his foreman.
Landowner: Pay the workers their day’s wages, beginning with the workers I hired most recently and ending with the workers who have been here all day.
9 So the workers who had been hired just a short while before came to the foreman, and he paid them each a day’s wage.[b] 10 Then other workers who had arrived during the day were paid, each of them a day’s wage. Finally, the workers who’d been toiling since early morning came thinking they’d be paid more, but the foreman paid each of them a day’s wage.[c] 11 As they received their pay, this last group of workers began to protest.
First Workers: 12 We’ve been here since the crack of dawn! And you’re paying us the exact same wage you paid the crew that just showed up. We deserve more than they do. We’ve been slogging in the heat of the sun all day—these others haven’t worked nearly as long as we have!
13 The landowner heard these protests.
Landowner (to a worker): Friend, no one has been wronged here today. This isn’t about what you deserve. You agreed to work for a day’s wage,[d] did you not? 14 So take your money and go home. I can give my money to whomever I please, and it pleases me to pay everyone the same amount of money. 15 Do you think I don’t have the right to dispose of my money as I wish? Or does my generosity somehow prick at you?
16 And that is your picture: The last will be first and the first will be last.
God’s glory and kingdom are His, so He is free to lavish goodness on anyone He pleases. If someone feels jealous because her friend’s husband seems nicer than her husband, or because another’s brother works no harder than he does but somehow earns far more money, or because another’s classmate who has the intelligence of a sponge always seems to get better grades, then God’s generosity will indeed undo all we have come to know and expect.
17 As Jesus was making His way to Jerusalem, He took His twelve disciples aside and once again told them what was about to happen.
Jesus: 18 We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the teachers of the law. He will be condemned to death, 19 and the priests and teachers will turn Him over to the Romans, who will mock Him and flog Him and crucify Him. But on the third day, He will be raised from the dead to new resurrected life.
20 As Jesus was speaking about the things that were to come, Zebedee’s wife, whose sons were among Jesus’ disciples, came to Jesus with her sons and knelt down before Him to ask a favor.
Jesus: 21 What do you want?
Zebedee’s Wife: When the kingdom of God is made manifest, I want one of my boys, James and John, to sit at Your right hand, and one to sit at Your left hand.
Apparently the wife of Zebedee secretly thinks her sons have worked harder and sacrificed more for Jesus than the other disciples, and she probably suspects that Jesus loves them best. She thinks He will at least do the right thing and reward their hardest work and most loyal service. She also hopes that if her sons are there on the nearest, closest thrones, she may spend eternity near and close, too, clutching onto their coattails.
Jesus (to all three): 22 You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? Can you be ritually washed in baptism just as I have been baptized?[e]
Zebedee Brothers: Of course!
Jesus: 23 Yes, you will drink from My cup, and yes, you will be baptized[f] as I have been. But the thrones to My right and My left are not Mine to grant. My Father has already given those seats to those for whom they were created.
24 The other ten disciples learned what the Zebedee brothers had asked of Jesus, and they were upset. 25 So Jesus called the disciples together.
Jesus: Do you want the Kingdom run like the Romans run their kingdom? Their rulers have great power over the people, but God the Father doesn’t play by the Romans’ rules. 26 This is the Kingdom’s logic: whoever wants to become great must first make himself a servant; 27 whoever wants to be first must bind himself as a slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as the ransom for many.
29 So finally Jesus and His disciples left Jericho and headed for Jerusalem; and, of course, a large crowd followed them. 30 Two blind men, sitting on the roadside, heard the crowd approaching with Jesus.
Two Blind Men: Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted louder.
Two Blind Men: Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!
Jesus (taking the two blind men aside): 32 What is it that you want, brothers?
Two Blind Men: 33 Lord, we want to see.
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and so they followed Him.