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bhoup
Apr 10th 2009, 06:24 AM
I've always thought that point or "lesson" of this passage was from verse 16: "So the last will be first, and the first last," when we get to heaven. However, tonight after reading an excerpt from Normal Geisler/Frank Turek's book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, I'm not so sure. They say that the point or lesson of this passage is this:

"In Matthew 19:28-30 Jesus declares that he--the "Son of Man"--will rule on the glorious throne of Israel at the renewal of all things, and that his followers will rule with him. In Matthew 20 he teaches the parable of the workers and the vineyard where the kingdom of God is represented by a vineyard owned by an employer, and Jesus is the employer. The employer pays equally, thereby communicating that God's grace is not based on any kind of merit such as length of service ("the first will be last and the last will be first"). This equates him with God in the Old Testament because God owns the vineyard (Isa 5:1-7)."

While I believe that we do not get to heaven based on works, is that really what Jesus meant in this passage, or was it simply what I stated at the beginning of this post? (or are they both correct?)

John146
Apr 10th 2009, 07:00 AM
I've always thought that point or "lesson" of this passage was from verse 16: "So the last will be first, and the first last," when we get to heaven. However, tonight after reading an excerpt from Normal Geisler/Frank Turek's book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, I'm not so sure. They say that the point or lesson of this passage is this:

"In Matthew 19:28-30 Jesus declares that he--the "Son of Man"--will rule on the glorious throne of Israel at the renewal of all things, and that his followers will rule with him. In Matthew 20 he teaches the parable of the workers and the vineyard where the kingdom of God is represented by a vineyard owned by an employer, and Jesus is the employer. The employer pays equally, thereby communicating that God's grace is not based on any kind of merit such as length of service ("the first will be last and the last will be first"). This equates him with God in the Old Testament because God owns the vineyard (Isa 5:1-7)."

While I believe that we do not get to heaven based on works, is that really what Jesus meant in this passage, or was it simply what I stated at the beginning of this post? (or are they both correct?)When you read Matthew 20:1-16 you can clearly see that all the workers are given the same reward (a penny) regardless of how long they worked. The first workers worked the longest while the last workers worked the shortest. As far as their reward is concerned how long they worked doesn't matter. They each received a penny. That's why the first shall be last and the last first. There's no difference between the first and the last as far as what reward they receive.

What Jesus was teaching there is that regardless of how long we serve Him we all receive the same reward: eternal life. The thief on the cross didn't really spend any time serving Christ at all. But he still will receive the same reward as someone who served for 50 years: an immortal body and eternal life in the eternal kingdom of God on the new earth.

bhoup
Apr 10th 2009, 08:08 AM
Thanks for your response John146! You really put it into perspective when you mentioned the thief on the cross.

Having said that, I still struggle a bit. Would it be a wrong interpretation to say that when Jesus said "the last will be first, and the first will be last," it meant that possibly the Christians in the world today who are rich, high-up with honor, will be the last when we get to heaven? That is how I always understood this passage.

Edit: Now that I think about it, the context never talks about rich vs. poor people at all. However, I still struggle a bit. Have you heard of the "Bema Seat?"

Teke
Apr 10th 2009, 02:01 PM
Salvation is the reward/payment. Anyone who comes receives the same salvation available to all.

Note in the parable that the early comers complained about the late comers. And Jesus points out that a deal is a deal. You make a deal, then why complain about anyone else's deal. Best worry about keeping your end of the deal. ;)

Followtheway
Apr 11th 2009, 03:21 AM
Salvation goes to all who repent and believe, but there will be different rewards as far as the kingdom goes

crossnote
Apr 11th 2009, 06:48 AM
FWIW I have always took this as a picture of the early laborers being the Jewish nation working in God's field bearing the heat of the day and then comes those pesky Gentiles and get in late in the day after the heat and labor has finished. Those Jews who see salvation as works do grumble why they were paid the same. (They fail to see God's grace in the whole matter). Aww but this is probably heresy.:blush:

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