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The Journal

The great hope of Jesus power

Dear Friends,
In Matthew 20:1-16 the clue to unlocking this parable is in the literary markers or bookends. This passage is framed by a similar phrase in 19:30 and 20:16 that act as bookends which mark it off as a unit. The verse which is repeated is :- But many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first. This parable is about reversal. In chapter 19 Jesus has encountered the rich young man who comes to him and asks “What must do to inherit eternal life ? 19:16. This man finds it difficult to accept Jesus instructions to go and sell his possessions and he goes away sad. The response of the disciples is instructive - 19:25 Who then can be saved ?” When they see that the rich young man who was privileged in his society they are shocked because they believe that someone of his status must be close to God yet walks away from Jesus. In response they wonder what hope they themselves have in knowing and following God. Jesus reassures them with God all things are possible. Jesus then introduces the parable of the vineyard workers who get hired at different times of the day and yet each one received a days wage (the same). Those who were hired first protest at this and consider it is unfair because they have born the heat of the day. This parable is quite pointed as Jesus is close to Jerusalem and he is teaching that the Jews who had the great privilege of the Law and Moses are in a dangerous position spiritually because they have rejected Him and questioned the Gospel being offered to outcasts. The religious leaders reject the generosity of God to offer the kingdom to those who are considered last or least such as tax collectors and sinners. Throughout church history there has often been resentment from various people when the Gospel is offered to those who are outsiders. This was the big issue the early church faced in learning to accept that the Gospel is also offered to Gentiles. There is another possible application :- in response to Peter’s statement that they have left everything to follow Jesus 19:27 Jesus is assuring them that God is generous and will provide for them. We must be wary of resenting and envying the generosity of God through Christ to offer salvation to all. The passage for the 5pm is John 11:1-47 which contains the great hope of Jesus power to defeat death and sin. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this ? 11:25-26 God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara