The Parables of Jesus # 11
Labourers in a vineyard
Matthew 19:27-30 & 20:1-16
27. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall
we have therefore?
28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the
regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or
children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the
morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4. And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they
went their way.
5. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
6. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why
stand ye here all the day idle?
7. They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard;
and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
8. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give
them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise
received every man a penny.
11. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12. Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have
borne the burden and heat of the day.
13. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for
14. Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
16. So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
I wanted to throw the final verses of Chapter nineteen into the mix this evening, because it is obvious that the
parable Jesus is telling this evening was told because of the conversation he was having with his disciples in Chapter
nineteen. The reason I say this is because he starts the parable by say “for” showing that it is a continuation of
Verse 1 - For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to
hire laborers into his vineyard.
[A] The Kingdom of heaven
 Indicates a person who is born again and ready to meet Christ
 Indicated the true church, the bride of Christ, awaiting his return.
[B] A certain householder
 If the Kingdom of heaven here is the true Church – Who is the householder?
[a] The Householder is Christ!
[C] The householder went out early to hire laborers for his vineyard
 We’ll come back to the early part in a moment,
 He went to hire labors
[a] What does a laborers do?
[1-a] He is hired to do labor
[2-a] He works for the one who hired him
[3-a] He is expected to do a certain job for his employer
[b] Who are the laborers?
[1-a] The laborers are those who do the will of Jesus
[2-a] The laborers are those who do the work of Christ
[3-a] The laborers are following Jesus at all cost
 The laborers were to work in the vineyard
[a] What does the vineyard represent
[1-a] Usually when we think of the vineyard, we consider it to be Israel
[2-a] I believe that in this case it represents the whole world, and the work of saving souls for the
[b] Jesus went out to hire workers to go into the world to share his gospel and win souls for him.
Verse 2 - And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
[A] The laborers he hired knew what they were to receive as a reward for working for the householder.
[B] He sent those he hired into the vineyard to do his work.
[C] Remembering that the workers were called by Jesus to do his work and save souls,
 Who were the first workers called by Jesus, so early in the morning?
[1-a] They were the disciples the first called by him.
 The disciples were sent out by Christ to do his will and to win souls for him as they worked in his vineyard.
Verses 3-4 - And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto
them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
[A] Three hours later, he found others sitting idle, and called them as well.
[B] They were told to go in to the vineyard and work and he would pay them what was right.
 Notice that he did not agree on an amount to give them,
Verses 5-7 - Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went
out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him,
Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that
shall ye receive.
[A] He went out again at the sixth hour and again at the ninth and once again at the eleventh hour
[B] Each time he hired more men to come and work
[C] Each time he said the same thing,
 Go ye also into the vineyard;
 Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive
Verse 8 - So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them
their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
[A] At the end of the day, at the twelfth hour, he had his steward call the men in to be paid.
[B] Strangely he paid the last to be hired first, and the first to be hired last.
Verse 9 - And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
[A] Here is where the parable starts to get interesting.
[B] How much did the lord of the vineyard agree to pay the first men her hired?
 one penny
[C] How long did they work for him in the vineyard.
 12 hours – all day
[D] How much did he tell the ones he hired at the eleventh hour he would pay them
 Whatever was right
[E] How much did he pay those men who worked only one hour.
 One penny
Verse 10 - But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received
every man a penny.
[A] Every man received a penny
 The ones hired at the eleventh hour received a penny
 Those hired at the ninth hour received a penny
 Those hired ate the sixth hour received a penny
 Those hired at the third hour received a penny
[B] While everyone was being paid, those hired first thing in the morning watched
 Seeing that all the other men received a penny for their short time working, especially those who had only
worked one hour. Those who had worked all day figured they ought to be paid more.
 When they received their pay, they too received a penny.
 They had worked longer; they had been in the heat; they supposed that it was his intention to pay them,
not according to contract, but according to the time of the labour.
Verse 11 - And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
[A] They began to complain and murmured against the man who had hired them
Verse 12 - Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne
the burden and heat of the day.
[A] Those hired first were upset.
 Those hired and worked only an hour received as much as they and they had worked in the heat all day
 How could twelve hours of hard labor, not be worth any more than one hour of labor and that done in the
last hours of the day when it was cool
 How could there be justification in paying men so much when they were able to produce only a small
amount compared to those hired first
[B] How would you have felt in the same situation?
Verse 13- But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a
[A] Friend, I do thee no wrong.
[B] I have fully complied with the contract.
[C] We had an agreement; I have paid it all.
[D] If I choose to give a penny to another man if he labors little or not at all; if I should choose to give all my
property away to others, it would not affect this contract with you.
[E] It is fully met. And with my own-- with that on which you have no further claim--may do as I please.
Verse 14 - Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
[A] Take what is justly due to you--what is properly your own.
Verse 15 - Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
[A] Is thine eye evil because I am good?
 The Hebrews used the word evil, when applied to the eye, to denote one who was envious or Malicious
 The eye is called evil in such cases, because envy and malice show themselves directly in the eye.
[B] What he is saying is this
 Are you thinking evil because I want to express good
 Are you upset because I am using my money as I see fit
 Do you think you can tell me how to use what I have
Verse16 - So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
[A] So the last shall be first
 This is the moral and the scope of the parable.
 What did Christ promise to give to the Disciples?
[a] Eternal life in heaven
[b] Thrones on which they will judge the tribes of Israel
 What will Christ give all others who receive him and follow his teaching?
[a] Eternal Live in heaven
[b] A crown of righteousness and a they will rule with him
 All shall reach heaven, and all shall receive what I promise to the faithful.
[a] The disciples will not receive any more than you and I
[b] Considering all they did, one would think they deserved more than we, but they will Not
[c] Consider Paul, he was such a hard worker for Christ, yet he will receive the same reward as you and
[d] If one receives Jesus a moment before they die, they will receive the same reward,
[e] All the faithful shall reach heaven and all shall receive the same reward,
[B] Many be called, but few chosen. - This probably had two different meanings
 Meaning # one
[a] Some who god calls are chosen to do great things for him,
[1-a] They become great preachers
[2-a] They are great evangelist
[3-a] They are martyrs for Christ
[4-a] They give everything they have to help others
[5-a] They translate the bible into other languages
[6-a] They carry the gospel into the world
[7-a] They feed the poor
[b] Others do nothing spectacular
[1-a] They do nothing to create a name for themselves
[2-a] They never leave their community
[3-a] They worship God in their local church
 Meaning # 2
[a] Many are called of Christ to become workers in his vineyards.
[1-a] He knocks at their hearts door and seeks to come in
[2-a] He calls to them and asks them to follow him
[3-a] Some answer his call and follow him diligently
[4-a] Some leave the thing of the world and take up the cross and follow him
[b] Some hear the call, and only pretend to follow
[1-a] The join a church, but never commit their lives to Jesus
[2-a] They go through the motions – but are never born again
[3-a] These could be considered those who were hired and refused to do the work Christ called
them to do.
[c] Others refuse even to acknowledge the call
[1-a] Jesus calls, but they refuse him
[2-a] He offers them eternal life, and they choose the world over him
It doesn’t matter when you accept Jesus, whether it is early in your life or late. What’s important is that you accept
him, and than live your life like you are expecting him to come again any moment.
To only go through the motions of accepting Christ, does not assure one of having eternal life. Only those who are
sincere in their walk and diligently seeking to follow Jesus will be allowed into heaven. Christ did too much to allow
those he calls to shirk their responsibility or make light of the salvation he offers.
To refuse to accept Jesus early, and instead determine in your heart to accept him later on in life is a gamble that I
personally would not want to try. No man knows the day or the hour that Jesus is coming. No one knows when they will
die, and stand before him. Once you close your eyes in death, there will be no repentance and no more opportunity to
accept Jesus as your lord and saviour. Therefore we must accept him and then diligently follow him. We must be willing
to give up everything, just like the disciples did, to do his will and to complete the work he has called us to do.
What is the work he has called us to do?
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world.