Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 20’

Was Blind1

Was blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.79b Cycles

Matthew 20:29-34 -  INTERVIEW  – ONCE BLIND 

As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.Two blind men were sitting beside the road.  

I interviewed Daniel in a Church service recently. He is completely blind. Daniel said “I was not always blind so I know what I have lost. Being so much older now, I have lost a lot of my mobility and my blindness adds to my lack of independence. Simple things can be difficult for me. For example, I still cannot use my phone and at times I can’t even find the cradle in which to replace it.”

Together Daniel and I related his story to this passage of the Bible in Matthew 20. I didn’t record the interview but you’ll find many of his thoughts in the story below …

If I went back in time with a Camera crew and met and interviewed the 2 blind beggars on the side of the road before Jesus came along, the interview might go something like this… 

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Was Blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane

I am here just outside Jericho, on a very busy road, and in a short time, we will try to get an interview with Jesus as He passes this way. In the meantime, we are speaking to Azriel and Efraim (not their real names), both believers and both completely blind. 

I am interested in what life is like for you and what is your take on the events of this day. Azriel, may I start with you. You went blind in your 20’s as a result of cataracts. May I ask you first what problems you face in everyday life and how your blindness restricts you?

Azriel: Yes, Of course. As you can imagine, I have lost a lot of my independence. I can’t work so I have experienced a dramatic loss of income. This means I have been reduced to begging and relying on others for my livelihood. The money I make from begging is often inadequate. That’s partly why I am here.

How did you find your way here today?

Azriel: It was a challenge, but I know this road and I just had to follow the noises of the people and ask for directions. This is the major road out of Jericho.

Mostly, my life is monotonous, sitting near the city gate begging, but at this time of year, everyone is going to the Passover in Jerusalem. Jericho is a major roadway to Jerusalem and everyone has a story to tell or news to share. That’s how we discovered news about Jesus passing this way.

I can beg by the roadside and listen to the conversations. I make a lot of money with so many people going by and learn a lot about what is happening in the world.

Ephraim: I don’t like going outside but I have to if I am going to survive. Azriel and I travel together. It’s a little like the Blind leading the Blind and the trouble is, it’s not always safe, with ditches, wagons, animals and Roman soldiers. People expect us to get out of the way. We know the best places to beg but often they are also the most dangerous.

It must be difficult to get through the crowded areas

Ephraim: Being on the road to Jericho at this time of year is always exhausting. Too many people roaming about, bumping into us or tripping over us. But we have to contend with the crowds to survive. We have no judgment to react quickly to any dangers so we are accident prone.

Some people give bad directions to us and others just don’t have time for us. We can’t venture out too far or we will get separated and lose our way without help. Sometimes people say “follow me” but unless they are watching us we will get lost in a crowd like this.

How do you cope emotionally with your blindness?

Efraim: I guess we cope because we don’t only rely on our hearing; on touch and smell and on taste to navigate our way through life (although my hearing is particularly good).

Before I had faith in Jesus, I found myself continually grappling with loneliness. My family seemed to be embarrassed by me and I lacked any sense of dignity. I felt as if I was not important to anyone. I felt isolated and I must admit, I still get depressed at times, but I am absolutely sure that I can rely on God and on His mercy.

I get frightened easily when I am alone outside. Rather than thinking the best in people, I can become suspicious of them. Sometimes I am not sure if I am being helped or being mugged. Azriel is fairly positive, so his friendship helps me, but I don’t make a lot of friends.

Since I believed in Christ, I have realised that I can’t trust completely in my own abilities or judgments and I can’t rely on others all the time. We can’t always just go with the crowd.

Azriel, What gives you hope?

Azriel: Our belief. As Ephraim said, we believe in Christ. We heard Him speak once and since then we have both come to believe that He is the promised Messiah, the Son of David. We will cry out for His mercy if ever we hear Him again. His mercy will give us a reason to live.

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Is there anything else you would like to say?

Azriel: If Jesus is going to the Passover in Jerusalem, then we don’t want to be so blind as to not recognise Him.  He will probably come along this road and we are keeping our ears open. Without Jesus, we are even more blind and helpless and with nowhere to go. But God is always near to us since we believed. I pray that He will give us the eyes of faith to see Him, and the humility to shout out for His touch and His mercy. We want to understand more of who He is and what that means for our lives.

Maybe your desire will come more quickly than you realised. I have just received news that Jesus is coming this way. 

As you can hear, the moment I said Jesus was coming, these two blind men are shouting out “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd doesn’t seem to like them calling out

“Be quiet!” 

People from the crowd are yelling at them. Let’s talk to one of them. Excuse me, can I ask you why you don’t want these blind men to get Jesus’ attention? 

Crowd member:  They are calling Jesus the Son of David. That’s a term used for the Messiah, the coming King who will one day free us from the tyranny of our enemies. Jesus may be a respected teacher but He is not the Messiah. Talk like that is almost blasphemous.

Another Crowd Member: Besides, they are beggars. As if Jesus will want to speak with beggars. It’s embarrassing.

Despite the crowds yelling at them to be quiet, Azriel and Ephraim are shouting even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Azriel and Ephraim, you seem intent on getting this crowd a little angry. Why do you continue shouting? They want you to remain silent and go back to asking for alms. 

Azriel: This is our only opportunity to see Jesus so we cannot give in to their demands. We intend to shout even louder for His intervention of mercy, even if it is undeserved and even if they are embarrassed and have no sympathy or compassion for our desperation. We are going to “Seek the LORD while He may be found” We are going to “call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6 NLT).

Well, it seems these two blind men cannot be dissuaded. They are shouting even louder. And Jesus is approaching. Let’s see what He does. 

Jesus hears them, and surprisingly, He is stopping to talk to them. 

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

Jesus has stopped and has asked them to articulate their needs. He seems to have accepted the title they have given Him, “Son of David”. Perhaps they are not so blind after all. It will be interesting to see if He will give them any money. They need a handout and they have already asked Him for mercy.

“Lord, we want to see!”

Well, you can see that Azriel and Ephraim are desperate, even to the point of believing that Jesus can perform a miracle and enable them to see. Jesus stands with them and the crowd have gathered around Him. They cried out for mercy desperately, but when Jesus stopped, they didn’t ask Jesus for money but for their sight. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, these poor beggars. Everyone has gone silent, wondering what Jesus is going to say or do. Perhaps he’ll encourage the crowd to give. How sad.

Of course, there are many desperate people on this crowded road who need the mercy of God. Not all of them are as demonstrative as these 2 beggars. Perhaps this is a reminder that none of us should be so blind as not to see the needs of those around us. Over to you…

… Wait, something is happening. 

Jesus is reaching down and touching their eyes. (Quickly, get a close-up of this.) Something is happening to their eyes. The moment Jesus touched their eyes something incredible happened! Their eyes are no longer clouded and white with cataract damage. They are clear and bright. (Did you get that?) 

The crowd have breathed a collective breath of amazement. People are gathering around. The crowd is getting a little thick around here. We can’t see what is going on. (Reporter talks to a man on a wagon) Excuse me, can you see what is happening? 

Man on wagon: Yes, Jesus was moved with compassion for two beggars and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! They are following Him. All praise to God! (Matthew 20:34).

There you have it. We did witness something remarkable. There are too many people around for us to get through to interview Jesus and these blind beggars who apparently have been completely healed, but we will keep trying. 

Please, let us through. We are reporters. We desperately need to speak to Jesus. Please, show a bit of mercy. We can’t miss this opportunity. Not now, after what we just witnessed… 

Forget the camera, guys. We need eyes to see Him too…  

Reporter begins shouting: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

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This story needs still the words of someone like Adam Clarke, born in 1763, who wrote a commentary on this passage from the Bible and gave what proves to be a timeless invitation. He says,

Reader, whosoever thou art, act in behalf of thy soul as these blind men did in behalf of their sight, and thy salvation is sure. Apply to the Son of David; lose not a moment; He is passing by, and thou art passing into eternity, and probably wilt never have a more favorable opportunity than the present. The Lord increase thy earnestness and faith!

Pastor Ross

Related Articles

http://www.thewellatspringfield.org/a-blind-beggar-who-sees/

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The Wall © Animation (Instagram) and images by Ross Cochrane

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ONE SIDE 

We all co-signed the legal document. We all had a part in our politiciansbusiness managers, educators, scientists and religious leaders to endorse an executive order to build the wall.  

Yes, Governor Adam and his wife Eve sealed the act, so there is a precedent for wall buildingBut we were all there when, as an act of arrogant declaration of ushering in untold wealth and prosperity, they took a bite of the forbidden fruit. It was momentous and although they were deported for their actions, they changed the world and we successfully built the wall to keep God out.   

Jesus, the Substitute Terrorist 

Some say that Jesus has built a bridge and walks among us even now infiltrating our defenses and forming sleeper cells. Jesus the terrorist; a dangerous and unwanted criminal who will corrupt the minds of our children, radicalizing them to be subservient to His LeadershipWe built the wall to prohibit Him and His followers from having an influence on us. 

We must be vigilant. Most cells are inconspicuous enough and many remain dormant. But they can be activated unaccountably by religious zeal as they pray or listen to their preachers, and all of a sudden, they are making an impact on our way of life, threatening to sabotage our educational and social norms by proselytizing any who will listen, and destroying our cultural icons.  

There is nothing new here. The wall of China, castle walls, the walls of Jericho, the walls of Jerusalem, the Berlin wall, the Iron Curtain. They are all designed to keep us insulated and keep the enemy at bay. We like to hold onto our territory, secure our boundaries. We build fences around our houses. The curtain in the temple in Jerusalem was not enough to separate people from God.  . We need the wall! 

This isn’t about drugs and guns, because these we have already legalized. This is about blocking an invading enemyYes, it is a wall against the immigration of faith-based advocates of the teachings of the Bible and against the unwanted radicalization of our children by those who follow Christ, simply that.  

It’s all to do with what we want for our community. We don’t want Jesus or His kind of influence among us, telling us to repent with His message of servanthood. 

THE OTHER SIDE 

Two different worlds divided by a vicious, impenetrable barrierIt snakes its deadly pathway through humanity. The development of these malevolent blocks of sinful enterprise has placed a death penalty upon all born behind this Wall of ShameBehind this wall, we die to any sense of what is right and reveal only the arrogance of the human heart. It is an unhealed wound which magnifies the waywardness of the human soul. It is built from the gravestones of a lost world, a slave market of the human spirit.  

I was born inside the walled slave market. We all were. All the political and educational leaders, all the respectable people, all the non-respectable people, all the moral, immoral, amoral, religious, irreligious, non-religious, the educated and uneducated, the rich and the poor, every race and every gender preference.  

Although this wall brings to mind the schemes of Donald Trump, it is far more comprehensive; with global implications Its bars and barriers are constructed of human sin (Romans 3:23) which have separated humanity from God. Its foundation is laid with white-washed tombs because the penalty of our sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). It is constructed of our false trust in human righteousness ignoring that all of us have gone our own way (Isaiah 53).  

But the wall humanity has built to keep Jesus, the refugee, out, far from enslaving God, has enslaved ourselves 

Jesus, the Substitute Refugee 

Romans 5:8 (NLT) says, But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” 

Jesus, born of a virginthe only free person who ever lived, came into the world outside the walled slave market of our sin. He built a bridge and walks among us and invites us to follow Him. God became a man and offers us eternal life. 

To purchase my freedom I needed someone outside the wall to pay the ransom price, but the ransom price was deathoffered to God to satisfy His justice and wrath against my sin.  

I am eternally grateful that Jesus paid the price and died on the Cross to purchase my freedom from the penalty of my sin. He paid the full ransom price with His own death so that I could live in freedom. was the refugee without a home and Jesus welcomed me into His Kingdom. Matthew 20: 28 (NLT) says Jesus came  to give His life as a ransom for many.” He became a substitute for me. 

Romans 5:10 (NLT) says, “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.” 

The Cross became a battering ram to open the way to God. There is a God-sized gap in the wall of every human heart. He invites those who will exercise faith to walk through itand to implore our world to   

Tear down this wall!” 

Pastor Ross 

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Shards of Pain © by Ross Cochrane using GetPaint.net

Matthew 20:18-19 – FACING THE FUTURE

The nausea became too much and I found myself looking into a bowl for several times that day. I thought it must be some gastric bug, but it wasn’t. I admit that my prayerlife was focused on myself that day. “Lord, please heal my body! 

The pain started last Saturday, slowly at first and then it cut deep into my lower stomach in an arc with surging intense bursts (and I had been looking forward to a restful weekend).  

No position in bed on Saturday night would give enough opportunity for sleep and by Sunday I was feeling miserable. No Church, even though my son was preaching. I decided to email my boss and let her know I would not be coming in on Monday. 

By Monday with no respite from the pain I was wondering what was going on; a hernia perhaps, a blockage of some sort and my mind even entertained bowel cancer (as you do)?  

My wife drove me to my doctor, Dr. James. After some painful prodding and questioning, he said, I suppose you expected me to give you a script for chemist shop drugs that will give you relief while I spend another day running some tests. But instead, I am sending you to the emergency department at the Seventh Day Adventist hospital with a suspected Appendicitis attack. They will do the tests much more quickly. I am sure it is to do with your appendix.” My day had changed yet again. We went straight to the hospital.  

From the moment I entered triage, I was treated with such respect and care, starting with Tony, the triage nurse and so many others. They encouraged me to ask my questions. From the ward’s person, to the trainee doctor, Kevin, to nursing staff and the surgeon, Dr. Barto, everyone was so understanding and explained each step. Through all this, my wife, Julie, was there to support me.  

The tests were fairly clear. “You will have the operation to take out your offending appendix at around 7 pm”, said the surgeon, Dr. Barto.  

 

The emotional and mental pain begins for Jesus as He turns towards Jerusalem, knowing exactly what He will go through. He gathers His disciples. He describes what will happen. Unlike me, no care and respect is given. He will be betrayed, condemned, mocked, flogged and crucified with no-one to support Him.  

What anguish must have accompanied this disclosure to His closest friends, but even they seem to show Him no understanding. Instead, they vie for authority in the coming Kingdom with no inkling of comprehension of the concept of servanthood.  

 

There was a space at 4 pm and I was wheeled through the corridors to the operating theatre, and for me, the next thing I remember is waking up in the post-op area and wheeled back to a beautiful room on the 9th floor where I felt euphoric from the anaesthetic and the comforting presence of God and my wife.

 

The offending appendix, I discovered, had been gangrenous. I am grateful to God that when I was helpless, there were those who treated me with care and respect and excellence. I woke the next day to the soft rays of a sunrise through my window.  

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I received care and healing and respect. Jesus received contempt and abuse and disdain. I cannot imagine the torment of inflicted pain that would crush my spirit and body to the point of death. He died, surrounded by the severity of hardened soldiers instead of trusted friends to support Him. They spoke of places of authority at His right and left hand but in the end, they ran away.  

He told them He would rise on the 3rd day. How simple that sounds but in rising again He would wrench the very hatred from a world of sinful opposition and give each mocking face an opportunity to find their way to God through Him. He gave respect where there was none, love where there was only derisive laughter.  

He woke, not like me, from a drug-induced euphoria on a hospital bed, but from the dungeons of death and a stone slab, with a startling rush of breath into His lungs, victory clasped like a scepter in His hand.  

The gangrenous sin seeping its poison in the world with its blackened tendrils of death was cut away and thrown into the void, the offending stench replaced with a sweet-smelling incense to those who put their trust in Christ. 

A gangrenous appendix operation fades into insignificance as I take hold of You, my risen Saviour and grasp just a glimpse of what it must have meant for You to share this disclosure to Your disciples. All I can do is be committed to You who knows the path ahead, even through the valley of death, and enjoy the life you have gifted.  

Pastor Ross 

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Matthew 20:1-16 – WHAT IS JESUS TRYING TO TELL ME?

I love the parable of the Landowner and the Vineyard Workers. Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to the generosity of a landowner who hires laborers at various times during the day. At 6 am He hires people to work in His vineyard for a day’s wage. He hires additional people at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and again at 5 p.m., telling each of these groups that He will give them “whatever is right.” and then pays the last hired with the same wage as those hired first. Absurd! Economy irresponsible! Incredibly generous! Unfair? Since this is a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven, what can I learn?

1. THE LANDOWNER NEVER STOPS SEARCHING FOR THOSE WHO WILL SERVE HIM IN THE VINEYARD. He comes repeatedly to the marketplace, all through the day, and at the end of the day gives each one a full days wage.

God never stops searching for those who desire to believe in His Sonserve Him and receive His gift of eternal life. He found me and gave me the opportunity to receive eternal life.

John 15:16 (NLT) says, You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, 

2. THE LANDOWNER FULFILLS HIS AGREEMENT WITH THE INITIAL WORKERS TO PAY A FULL DAY’S WAGE

God keeps His promises. He has promised Eternal Life to those who give their lives to Christ.

Numbers 23:19 (NLT) says, God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

Acts 16:31 (NLT) says, Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, …” 

3. THE DAY WORKERS WAITED AT THE MARKETPLACE READY AND WILLING TO WORK

God chose me because He knew I was willing to come. 

John 3:16 (NLT) says, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 

4. THE DAY WORKERS RECOGNISE THAT THEY ARE DESTITUTE WITHOUT THE LANDOWNER

They agree to serve the Landowner knowing He will do what is right. Without Him, they are destitute.

We are destitute spiritually without ChristJesus offered the rich young ruler eternal life but he turned away from Him. Jesus then told this parable about those who served Him who recognize that they are poor without Him. We come to God recognizing the inadequacy of our own resources for life and eternity.

John 15:5 (NLT) says, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.

Romans 5:6 (NLT) says, When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

5. THE WORKERS WHO CAME THROUGHOUT THE DAY TRUSTED THE LANDOWNER

They did not know how much they would receive but they worked for Him anyway.

We come to Christ to serve Him, not simply to get our needs met. We come under His authority. And what we receive goes way beyond what we deserve.

In Joshua 24:15 (NLT) Joshua challenges people to choose who they will serve. He said, But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Psalm 34:22 (NLT) says But the Lord will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.

Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT) says, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields.”

6. NONE OF THE WORKERS DESERVED ANYTHING FROM THE LANDOWNER

Not those who worked a full day or those who worked for only an hour. It was only by the grace of the Landowner that they were given anything, since it all belonged to Him.

God gives us that which we do not earn, work for or deserve. Eternal life is a free gift. Serving God is a given for every Christian. Eternal life was paid for by Christ, not us, and given to us as a free gift.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) says, God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

7. THE WORKERS WHO CAME FIRST WERE NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN THOSE WHO CAME LAST

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Denarius © Created by Ross Cochrane using Blender Cycles

My service to Christ is no less important than others who may be famous or have more money or have more influence than I do. Eternal life is not dependent on whether I’m better than someone else in earthly terms. I have the privilege of serving Christ in the best way I can and even then I need His help.

Ephesians 2:9 (NLT) says Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

8. THE WORKERS WHO WORKED A FULL DAY WANTED MORE THAN THEY RECEIVEDeven though they received what they had been promised. They wanted to be paid based on comparison with others.

I can trust God for my provision.

Whether I have a lot of money in the bank or not, it’s easy to be more concerned or even anxious with what I have or do not have than in trusting in God for my finances and for my daily provision. It’s easy to compare what I have with others.

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT) reminds me that “…true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So, if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” 

The rich young ruler went away sorrowful and without eternal life because he wasn’t willing to give his riches away. The poor day workers received a full days wage, more than they expected because they were willing to receive whatever was right from the Landowner and come under His authority and serve Him.

Jesus said, “… I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

What an amazing perspective for life.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 20:1-16 – WHEN GOD IS UNFAIR – Jesus and the Fair Workers Tribunal – Part 2

Matthew 20:1 says, “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for His vineyard...”

Tribunal Chairperson – Now, we understand you are the Landowner of the Kingdom of Heaven Vineyards.

Jesus – Yes. The Landowner, creator and employer. 

Tribunal Chairperson – Your name for the record?

Jesus  Joshua Davidson, known as Jesus to most.

Tribunal Chairperson – And why do you call Your vineyard the Kingdom of heaven?

Jesus  It is called a Kingdom because it is the sphere where I exercise absolute authority as owner and employer. It is called Heaven because it is a place of fruitfulnesslife and perfection. Once workers come to My Vineyard they live on the property and under My authority. They find their ultimate calling and destiny. 

Tribunal Chairperson – We understand that this morning you hired some workers?

Jesus  Yes, I searched for them, found them and invited them to serve Me in My Vineyard. Without being hired, these day laborers would not have the resources they need to liveThey would be destitute and starve. I am their provider.

Tribunal Chairperson – We are here because a question has been asked by Peter, James and John, who are also Your employees, about fairness. You must realize that Employees have to be paid at least their minimum pay rates and entitlements. What exactly is the enterprise agreement or other registered agreement that Your workers are under?

Jesus – I have made a covenant agreement with all those who serve at the Vineyard. It is called Grace. I bypass normal agreements by giving a gift to every one of the same value. I simply say to My workers, “If you serve Me, you will not receive what is fair, but what I decide to give to you which will be right.”  

Tribunal Chairperson – I thought as much. Your employees have been underpaid, and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. We, therefore, are calling upon You to pay your workers what is fair. We understand that sometimes underpayments happen accidentally because of computer or human errorthe wrong number of hours paidpenalty rates not appliedother entitlements not paid, such as leave or allowancesbut You have deliberately underpaid Your workers. At the end of the day, we are here to audit only one pay period over a 12 hour day. We understand you employed others workers at different times of the day.

Jesus  Yes, I am continually looking for those who want to serve Me in the Vineyard. Many people are just waiting for the opportunity and are grateful that I have found them.

Tribunal Chairperson – You chose those who were just standing around?

Jesus  Yes. But it‘s not that these workers want to do nothing. They aren’t lazy. They are waiting for the opportunity to work and searching for MeThose who serve Me have realized that their lives were going nowhere and now they have meaning. They serve Me because they are willing to find their destiny in life. 

Deuteronomy 4:29 says  you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him.”

Jeremiah 29:13 says If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. … says the Lord.

Tribunal Chairperson  That’s all well and good, but You kept on hiring people all through the day. We are here to ensure You pay Your workers what they deserve and apparently, this did not happen.

Jesus  My workers deserve nothing from my hand, yet I have given them all the same gift, which represents life and what they can never earn, work for or deserve. Am I to understand that You don’t wish Me to pay those who serve me at all? 

Tribunal Chairperson  Of course not. We are here to ensure that those You do hire are paid what they deserve.

Jesus – You do not realize what you are asking. To pay them what they deserve would only lead to their destruction?

Tribunal Chairperson  Are you saying that your employees don’t deserve to be paid at all?

Jesus  That’s correct. I don’t need to employ them. I have found them in the marketplace of the world and invited them to come to Me and serve Me. They came willingly, knowing that whatever I gave them would be more than they deserve. 

Tribunal Chairperson – I believe some workers came to work for you at 5 in the afternoon and yet you still hired them with just one hour left in the day?

Jesus  Yes. I am always looking for those who will come under my authority. If you had come I would have asked you also “Why haven’t you been working today? Now is the appointed time. There is no need to waste your life waiting for someone else. I am the only One who has come to give people purpose and lifeAnd it is never too late in this life to give your life to Me.

Tribunal Chairperson – Now, let me understand this. You called the last workers first in order to be paidThey had only worked for an hour. How much did you pay them?

Jesus  Yes. The last shall be first. I gave each one a denarius.

Tribunal Chairperson – I see. A full days wage. Very generous. And how much did you pay your employees who worked for the full day?

Jesus – I gave each of them a denarius also.

Tribunal Chairperson – And there’s the problem. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. Some people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid those who worked all day in the scorching heat. Surely You see that there is discrepancy. You have been unfair with Your wages, especially to those who worked for a whole day.

Jesus  No. I agreed with those I hired first, based on my covenant of grace to give them a denarius. This was not based on the number of hours they worked but upon what I desired to give them. They agreed to serve me for a denarius. Those who came later served me for what I considered to be right.

Tribunal Chairperson – It is our contention that You need to backpay your employees who worked for 12 hours by paying them 12 denarii each. And then penalty ratesovertimeallowances, and any other entitlements. That would be fair.

Jesus  You do not know what you are asking. The denarius symbolizes eternal life. I cannot give more than eternal life. To give them what is fair would lead to their destruction. 

Tribunal Chairperson – I contend that You are being unfair.

Jesus  Yes, I am. I am offering My grace to those who trust in Me and that is entirely unfair. It is undeserved. I am here to ask You to come and serve Me also and then you will see personally that my gift of eternal life is unfair.

Today your life will be required of you and you must decide to accept what is fair from My hand which will mean you will be eternally lost or accept my denarius, that which represents that which is totally unfair and undeserved and speaks of absolute grace and eternal life

The wages of sin is death but the free gift I offer to you is eternal life. I will not require any back payments since you have been judged already by your sin, and your words, deeds and thoughts.  

Tribunal Chairperson – Are you mad? We are here to judge you! Do you think you can sit here and judge us? 

Jesus  No, your hearts have done that already. The hour is near. I came to do the work of God among you and give instruction and guide You in life and faith. You are the last of those who I have been searching for all day. I am here to give your life meaning, purpose and destiny. Will you serve Me in My Vineyard rather than try to judge Me for the grace of unfairness. Believe Me, you do not want Me to be fair. Fairness will lead you to hell. Follow Me and have the gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pastor Ross

Denarius © Graphics and Animation by Ross Cochrane 

Alexus was attacked and robbed yesterday. I stopped in to see him. We are strangers in this area and some people in this town hate and despise strangers. They think we are taking their employment but all we are doing is trying to exist.

Helpless and with no food or ability to earn money or see a physician, Alexus needs my help while he recovers. If I don’t get work today I will look in on him again, but without work, I will have no food for him or for my own family. We will manage somehow.

It is the end of September, the grape harvest has ripened, and everyone knows that the rains are coming soon. If the harvest is not gathered in before the rains break, it will be ruined.

I have heard that the landowner of the largest vineyard will be coming into the town marketplace today and I may already have missed him. His vineyard is called the Kingdom of Heaven. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few but I have to get there early enough to be hired.

The pay is a denarius, a day’s wage. After tending Alex’s wounds I grab my tools and race to the market square, but the workers are already gone. All I can do is wait to see if another opportunity to work comes as the sun rises slowly in the sky.

How will my family fare without food tomorrow? Life is not easy for day workers, but no one promised that it would be. Chance employment is all I have.

I waited for some time in the Marketplace and walking back to Alexus was difficult for me. I knew we would not eat tomorrow unless I received work but I needed to find out the state of my friend. I was hoping to come back midday and wait once more. Alexus looked bad. I had reported the crime to the authorities and today a messenger came asking Alexus to attend the court at the city gates. Those who had attacked him had been apprehended. He needed my help to get him there but he was able to identify his assailants. Unfortunately, due to other cases being heard, this took most of the day.

After returning Alexus to his home, I returned to the Marketplace in the vain hope that someone would at least give me an hour of work.

To my astonishment, just as I arrived, the Landowner stepped up to me and said: “Why haven’t you been working today?” Before I had an opportunity to reply, someone behind me answered Him“Because no-one hired us.” He invited us to work the final hour of the day. I was grateful for any work and thanked Him. 

After only one hour of hard work, the foreman called us all in to be paid. I didn’t expect much but even one hours work will give me something for my family and Alexus. The Landowner asked for those who had worked last, late in the day, to come and be paid first.

A man joined me in the line. He put his hand on my shoulder and I turned to see … Alexus!

“How?” I said, astonished at his sudden appearance. He looked healthy and he no longer limped. His bruises and swelling on his face had gone completely.

“I was working in another section of the vineyard”, he said, “so I couldn’t see or talk with you. When you left my house a strange thing happened. I prayed that God would spare my life. Immediately, the foreman knocked at my door,  placed his hand on me and said, “Your faith has made you well.” I was totally healed at that moment. He asked me to work in His Fathers Vineyard and so I am here. Like you, I have only worked for an hour.”

Then my shock was doubled. As we arrived at the table, the foreman handed each of us a denarius, a full day’s wage!  

“You must be mistaken, we have only worked for an hour?” I said.

He looked up and said, “We do not pay wages here. You are not being overpaid. This denarius is not based on what you have done for Me but upon what I wish to do for you. It is my gift. Those who serve Me receive My gifts.  

Pastor Ross