Thursday, December 23, 2010

Matthew 19:16 - 20:16

The Rich Young Man
19:16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


In this very long part, Jesus tries to explain to us what it means “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” This is a very important part to Christians. I was shocked and rejoiced when I suddenly understood it, though I didn't understand it at first.

In MATTHEW 20:1 - 16, it seems so unfair that the guys who worked all day are paid only the same as those worked for less than an hour, if I were one of the guys I would be pissed too! But wait a minutes, these guys are actually paid as they are promised. They are not cheated, then why do they find it unfair?

The wages paid to the workers in this parable represents the grace and salvation of God. These are the things we couldn't earn from any sort of hard work.

That reflects to the part from Matthew 19:17 of the Rich Young Man, where Jesus told the young man “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

It means that God doesn't NEED us to do good things for Him, what we think we did good or great are only the right things to do, the things we are supposed to do. We are not doing God any favor. But if so, what made us worth the crucifixion of Jesus?

That is the Grace God gave us unconditionally as long as we choose to put our faith in Him, and to follow His path. And we who believe in Him and following Him are all given the Grace, whether we come to Him earlier than others or later.

So, if we got there but couldn't understand it, then it's not “the first” to receive the Grace, but “the last” who understood it will receive the Grace. Just like the hard working guys who thought that we shall be blessed MORE for doing this and that for God, or being obedience to this and that rules.

God's love is so wide that there is no measurement to it, I think, to follow His rule or being kind to others is just how I respond to His love. Jesus was crucified and tortured for His love for us, and how could we ever pay it back?

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