Adult Christian Education Program
St. Demetrios Church
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Gospel of Matthew 20:1-20
Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos
The First and the Last-Parable of the Workers in the field.
Our Lord illustrates here the principle of the last being first and the first last by telling another parable, for the Kingdom of the heavens is such that it overthrows all the standards of the age. In chapter 19:27 Peter showed that he was very concerned that he be adequately rewarded for his labor, and was worried that God might unjustly overlook his sacrifice and work. Christ did perceive the question lurking in the background and saw a dangerous attitude in it. In the Kingdom, God’s response to men was still the one of grace, not one of works. God would give to each more than he deserved. Thank God for His mercy and love for us…
The story: a housemaster (landowner) went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He promised the money of the time, denarius for pay. It started in the third hour (9am) which was the normal time for people to find work. Then on to the sixth and ninth hour which is 12 Noon and 3pm. Then on to the eleventh hour which is 5pm. In the late hour of the day he found some men standing idly and asked them why they did not have work and their response was no one asked us to work.
Review the discussion of the landlord with the workers… Realistic expectations and knowing what we sign on for in each encounter with God’s creation.
Warning presented to the disciples and to us in this biblical stop.
A warning to the disciples which was you have received much from Me and the Church in the early days but this does not mean that others will not come along and receive the message and possibly become greater guardians of the faith. Faith is not something that each of us owns rather it is something that gains its power when we give it away. There is no such thing as a favorite nation’s clause.
Infinite compassion of God. It wasn’t that the laborers were lazy it was they were not offered work to do from the start as others where in the beginning of the reading.
By this parable Christ reveals the unworthy and grasping nature of such complaints. The righteous were offered the Kingdom, just like the rest. What harm is it to them if God grants the Kingdom also to the righteous who repent. We own nothing. We just gratefully should receive God’s blessings.
This is the third time that Jesus warned his disciples that he was on the way to the Cross.