20 Here is another illustration of the Kingdom of Heaven. “The owner of an estate went out early one morning to hire workers for his harvest field. 2 He agreed to pay them $20 a day
3 “A couple of hours later he was passing a hiring hall and saw some men standing around waiting for jobs, 4 so he sent them also into his fields, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 At noon and again around three o’clock in the afternoon he did the same thing.
6 “At five o’clock that evening he was in town again and saw some more men standing around and asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’
7 “‘Because no one hired us,’ they replied.
“‘Then go on out and join the others in my fields,’ he told them.
8 “That evening he told the paymaster to call the men in and pay them, beginning with the last men first. 9 When the men hired at five o’clock were paid, each received $20. 10 So when the men hired earlier came to get theirs, they assumed they would receive much more. But they, too, were paid $20.
11-12 “They protested, ‘Those fellows worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as those of us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’
13 “‘Friend,’ he answered one of them, ‘I did you no wrong! Didn’t you agree to work all day for $20? 14 Take it and go. It is my desire to pay all the same; 15 is it against the law to give away my money if I want to? Should you be angry because I am kind?’ 16 And so it is that the last shall be first, and the first, last.”
17 As Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside 18 and talked to them about what would happen to him when they arrived.
“I[b] will be betrayed to the chief priests and other Jewish leaders, and they will condemn me to die. 19 And they will hand me over to the Roman government, and I will be mocked and crucified, and the third day I will rise to life again.”
20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, brought them to Jesus and respectfully asked a favor.
21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, will you let my two sons sit on two thrones[c] next to yours?”
22 But Jesus told her, “You don’t know what you are asking!” Then he turned to James and John and asked them, “Are you able to drink from the terrible cup I am about to drink from?”
“Yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
23 “You shall indeed drink from it,” he told them. “But I have no right to say who will sit on the thrones next to mine. Those places are reserved for the persons my Father selects.”
24 The other ten disciples were indignant when they heard what James and John had asked for.
25 But Jesus called them together and said, “Among the heathen, kings are tyrants and each minor official lords it over those beneath him. 26 But among you it is quite different. Anyone wanting to be a leader among you must be your servant. 27 And if you want to be right at the top, you must serve like a slave. 28 Your attitude[d] must be like my own, for I, the Messiah,* did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
29 As Jesus and the disciples left the city of Jericho, a vast crowd surged along behind.
30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road, and when they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Sir, King David’s Son, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd told them to be quiet, but they only yelled the louder.
32-33 When Jesus came to the place where they were, he stopped in the road and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Sir,” they said, “we want to see!”
34 Jesus was moved with pity for them and touched their eyes. And instantly they could see, and followed him.
- Matthew 20:2 $20 a day, literally, “a denarius,” the payment for a day’s labor; equivalent to $20 in modern times, or £7.
- Matthew 20:18 I, literally, “The Son of Man.”
- Matthew 20:21 sit on two thrones, implied. Also in v. 23.
- Matthew 20:28 Your attitude, implied. the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.”