Parable of the Vineyard Workers
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage[a] and sent them out to work.
3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.
6 “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’
7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’
8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’
13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’
16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
Jesus, this is one story I just don’t seem to have a problem with. I struggle with so many sins in my life, but envy doesn’t seem to be one of them. I surely don’t want to be proud or self-righteous, and I am afraid that is exactly how I am sounding now. Maybe I need this one thing, among all my faults, to see that You do work in me and change me. Perhaps there is hope for my other faults.
But there surely is a lesson for me here. I am one of the mid-day hires. I have not been working for You all my life, and I still don’t really work all that hard. The sun has not yet burned me too badly. I see these men worked till the last hour of the day. No one quit half way through. Jesus, I do often wish my struggles were over, my work were finished. Help me not to expect to leave the field early. Help me to expect to live a long life, and to work hard the entire time. Help me embrace the job You have given me. Help me to do it well and with a smile. Help me to take the pay You give me and be thankful for it, without question.
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. 18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[b] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans[c] to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Jesus, how did You walk so willingly to such a horrible punishment? You knew everything that would happen to You, and You walked right in. Open my eyes Lord. What are You teaching me?
If I am to follow You, I guess I have to stop avoiding pain and hard times. It is time for me to follow, and accept the little bits of suffering that come my way. Perhaps the time for just words and prayer is coming to an end in my life. Is it time for me to just do it?
Jesus Teaches about Serving Others
20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
Jesus, I can’t handle the little bits of suffering that are in my life, and they are little. Yet clearly, sharing in Your cup of suffering is an honor. James and John did suffer greatly, and somehow remained loyal to You to the end. Jesus, help me to depend on You in all my trials. Help me to trust in You and Your plan for my life. Help me to not live a life to avoid suffering and trouble, but to live a life to do Your will. Change me so my desires, are Your desires…make me a true follower, no matter what.
24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus, am I not the leader, because I don’t serve well enough? At one time I was a leader, at work and at home, but not any more. I’ve lost all respect and leadership. Have I stopped serving? Open my eyes Lord.
Of course, when You were dying on the cross, it didn’t look like You were a leader either. You served others, us, me, right to a horrible death. I see Your call on me to serve without receiving in return. I know I’m not doing that now. I need to just do it. Thank-you Lord. Change me.
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
29 As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. 30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them.
But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”
33 “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” 34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.
Jesus, the blind me cried out to You, and you healed their blindness. I know I am blind. I am blind to the pain of others around me. Even my own family – the people I love the most. I’m blind to how I hurt others. Help me Lord. Open my eyes. Cure my blindness and give me the courage to call Your name. Change me Lord. If my eyes are opened I will need to change. I can only change with Your love and power.