The first laborers hired (Mt 20:2-20:2)

“He agreed

With the laborers

For the usual daily wage.

He sent them

Into his vineyard.”

 

συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with his parable.  This land owner hired the first group of day laborers.  They came to a mutual understanding.  This land owner agreed and the day laborers also agreed to accept one denarius as payment for that day, the usual or common wage for a day’s work (συμφωνήσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν).  This Roman silver coin was worth about $.15 USA.  They would work all day for about 15 cents.  Then he sent them into his vineyard to pick the grapes (ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  So far, so good, nothing unusual here.  A land owner and some workers agreed on a day’s pay that was not extravagant, without any middle man.

Advertisements

Hire people (Mt 20:1-20:1)

“The kingdom of heaven is

Like a landowner

Who went out

Early in the morning

To hire laborers

For his vineyard.”

 

Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ, ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρωῒ μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, explained that the kingdom of heaven was like (Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) a wealthy vineyard owner, the man who owned and was in charge of his land (ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ).  He needed his grapes picked at the harvest time.  He would hire day laborers or daily workers to do this difficult work.  He went out early in the morning (ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρω), probably around 6 AM.  He wanted to hire some daily grape picker field laborers (μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας) to work on his land in his vineyard (εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ).  This vineyard would have been a symbol of the prophets working in the vineyard of Israel.

The first and the last (Mt 19:30-19:30)

“But many

Who are first

Will be last.

The last

Will be first.”

 

Πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι.

 

This eschatological saying about the reversal of order can be found in Mark, chapter 10:31, word for word, and Luke, chapter 13:30, but slightly different.  This same saying will be repeated by Matthew in chapter 20:16 about day laborers.  This renewal at the end times, would reverse the earthly hierarchy.  Mark and Matthew say that this will happen to many people, while Luke said only some people.  Here many people (Πολλοὶ) who are now first will be last (Πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι), while the people last now will be first (καὶ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι) at the end eschatological renewal final time.  This is a saying often used to remind people that things will not always be the same as they are today.

The eternal life reward (Mt 19:28-19:29)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

At the renewal of all things,

When the Son of Man

Is seated on his glorious throne,

You who have followed me

Will also sit on twelve thrones,

Judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Everyone who has left

Houses,

Or brothers,

Or sisters,

Or father

Or mother

Or children

Or lands,

For my name’s sake,

Will receive a hundredfold.

They will inherit eternal life.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ὑμεῖς οἱ ἀκολουθήσαντές μοι, ἐν τῇ παλινγενεσίᾳ, ὅταν καθίσῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ, καθήσεσθε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ δώδεκα θρόνους κρίνοντες τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.

καὶ πᾶς ὅστις ἀφῆκεν οἰκίας ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν τοῦ ἐμοῦ ὀνόματός, πολλαπλασίονα λήμψεται καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσει.

 

This demanding saying of Jesus, talking about giving up family and land for eternal life, can be found in Mark, chapter 10:29-30, and Luke, chapter 18:29-30, but slightly different.  Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He told them, if they had followed him (ὅτι ὑμεῖς οἱ ἀκολουθήσαντές μοι), that at the renewal of all things, the rebirth, the end times (ἐν τῇ παλινγενεσίᾳ), the Son of Man would be seated on his glorious throne (ὅταν καθίσῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ).  At that same time, his followers, these 12 disciple apostles, would sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (καθήσεσθε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ δώδεκα θρόνους κρίνοντες τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).  Everyone who has left (καὶ πᾶς ὅστις ἀφῆκεν) houses (οἰκίας), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (ἢ ἀδελφὰς), father (ἢ πατέρα), mother (ἢ μητέρα), children (ἢ τέκνα), or lands (ἢ ἀγροὺς) for his name (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ἐμοῦ ὀνόματός) would receive a hundredfold (πολλαπλασίονα λήμψεται).  They would inherit eternal life (καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσει).

Peter wants to know about the disciples (Mt 19:27-19:27)

“Then Peter said

In reply.

‘Look!

We have left everything.

We have followed you.

What then shall we have?’”

 

Τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι· τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν;

 

This saying by the pragmatic leader of the disciples showed that Peter was concerned about himself and his fellow disciples.  What was in for them?  Something similar can be found in Mark, chapter 10:26, and Luke, chapter 18:28, but slightly different.  Then Peter responded or complained to Jesus (Τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He said that he and the other disciples had left everything that he had (Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα), including their families.  They were willing to follow Jesus (καὶ ἠκολουθήσαμέν σοι), but what was going to be their reward (τί ἄρα ἔσται ἡμῖν).  Would they be left empty-handed?

All things are possible with God (Mt 19:26-19:26)

“But Jesus looked

At them.

He said to them.

‘For men,

This is impossible.

But with God,

All things are possible.’”

 

ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν, παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά.

 

This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, word for word, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different.  Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans were not able to do, God was able to do.

Who can be saved? (Mt 19:25-19:25)

“When the disciples

Heard this,

They were greatly astonished.

They said.

‘Then who can be saved?’”

 

ἀκούσαντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο σφόδρα λέγοντες Τίς ἄρα δύναται σωθῆναι;

 

This reaction of the disciples can be found in Mark, chapter 10:26, and Luke, chapter 18:26, almost word for word.  When the disciples of Jesus heard this saying (ἀκούσαντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ), they were greatly shocked, astonished, and amazed (ἐξεπλήσσοντο σφόδρα).  They then wondered who then could possibly be saved (Τίς ἄρα δύναται σωθῆναι)?  Could anyone be saved?  Everyone had some kind of wealth so that this was a very difficult saying for them.