Laborers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning at dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a [a]denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour (9:00 a.m.) and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right (an appropriate wage).’ And they went. 5 He went out about the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), and did the same thing. 6 And about the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They answered him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them, ‘You go into the vineyard also.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last [to be hired] and ending with the first [to be hired].’(A) 9 Those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) came and received a denarius each [a day’s wage]. 10 Now when the first [to be hired] came, they thought they would get more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they protested and grumbled at the owner of the estate, 12 saying, ‘These men who came last worked [only] one hour, and yet you have made them equal [in wages] to us who have carried [most of] the burden and [worked in] the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But the owner of the estate replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go, but I choose to give to this last man [hired] the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not lawfully permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? Or is your eye [b]envious because I am generous?’ 16 So those who are last [in this world] shall be first [in the world to come], and those who are first, last.”
Death, Resurrection Foretold
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve [disciples] aside, and along the way He said to them, 18 “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and they will [judicially] condemn Him and sentence Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities) to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised [to life] on the third day.”
Preferred Treatment Asked
20 Then [Salome] the [c]mother of Zebedee’s children [James and John] came up to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down [in respect], asked a favor of Him.(B) 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit [in positions of honor and authority] one on Your right and one on Your left.” 22 But Jesus replied, “You do not realize what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup [of suffering] that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink My cup [of suffering]; 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 when the [other] ten heard this, they were resentful and angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them].(C) 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 [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”
Sight for the Blind
29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.(D) 30 And two blind men were sitting by the road, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David (Messiah)!” 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David (Messiah) have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them, and asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They answered 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 [as His disciples].
The Triumphal Entry
21 When they approached Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples [ahead],(E) 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and at once you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you should say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and without delay the owner will send them [with you].” 4 This happened so that what was spoken by the prophet would be fulfilled, saying:
“Tell the daughter of Zion (the people of Jerusalem),
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Gentle and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”(F)
6 Then the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and they brought the donkey and [d]the colt, and [e]placed their coats on them; and Jesus sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road [as before a king], while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration],
10 When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Cleansing the Temple
12 And Jesus entered the temple [grounds] and drove out [with force] all who were buying and selling [birds and animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and He turned over the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the chairs of those who were selling doves [for sacrifice].(H) 13 Jesus said to them, “It is written [in Scripture], ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”(I)
14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple area, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful and miraculous things that Jesus had done, and heard the [g]boys who were shouting in [the porticoes and courts of] the temple [in praise and adoration], “Hosanna to the Son of David (the Messiah),” they became indignant 16 and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus replied to them, “Yes; have you never read [in the Scripture], ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared and provided praise for Yourself’?”(J) 17 Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
The Barren Fig Tree
18 Now early in the morning, as Jesus was coming back to the city, He was hungry.(K) 19 Seeing a lone fig tree at the roadside, He went to it and found nothing but leaves on it; and He said to it, “Never again will fruit come from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw it, they were astonished and asked, “How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once?” 21 Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it].(L) 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
23 When He entered the temple area, the [h]chief priests and elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching and said, “By what [kind of] authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority [to exercise this power]?”(M) 24 Jesus replied to them, “I will also ask you a question, and if you tell Me the answer, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John—from where did it come? From heaven [that is, ordained by God] or from men?” And they began debating among themselves [considering the implications of their answer], saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe John?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the [response of the] crowd; for they all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what [kind of] authority I do these things.”
Parable of Two Sons
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and changed his mind and went. 30 Then the man came to the second son and said the same thing; and he replied, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of the father?” The chief priests and elders replied, “The first one.” Jesus said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you [walking] in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even change your mind afterward and believe him [accepting what he proclaimed to you].
Parable of the Landowner
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to tenant farmers and went on a journey [to another country].(N) 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his [share of the] fruit. 35 But the tenants took his servants and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first time; and they treated them the same way. 37 Finally he sent his own son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son and have regard for him.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This [man] is the heir; come on, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took the son and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to Him, “He will put those despicable men to a miserable end, and rent out the vineyard to other tenants [of good character] who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”
42 Jesus asked them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to [another] people who will produce the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this Stone will be broken to pieces; but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”(P)
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was talking about them. 46 And although they were trying to arrest Him, they feared the people, because they regarded Jesus as a prophet.
- Matthew 20:2 A day’s wage for a common laborer.
- Matthew 20:15 Lit evil because I am good?
- Matthew 20:20 This woman is believed to be the sister of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
- Matthew 21:7 A colt that had not been used was considered holy by the Jews and was fit to carry a king.
- Matthew 21:7 A sign of homage and recognition of Jesus’ kingship.
- Matthew 21:9 “Save now!” or “Save I pray!”
- Matthew 21:15 There would have been a large number of twelve year old boys in the temple preparing to celebrate their first Passover and their ceremonial entry into manhood.
- Matthew 21:23 I.e. the official delegation from the Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court.
- Matthew 21:42 This quotation from a Messianic psalm refers to the coming rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, and His resurrection as the Cornerstone of mankind’s redemption.