1. For the Kingdom of/from the heavens operates like this: Imagine that the owner of an estate with a winery went out very early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2. And the workers that he found agreed to accept the modest, daily wage that he offered them, and then went right to the task at hand.
3. A little later that morning, around nine o'clock, he went to town and noticed that there were some able men who were just standing around, doing nothing.
4. So he said to them, “Hey, if you’re looking for work, I have some…go over to my vineyard and just get started, and whatever is appropriate I will pay you.” And they went.
5. He went out again around noon and did the same.
6. And again, at about five o'clock, (or what is referred to in the workplace as ‘the eleventh hour’) he went out and found still others standing around, and he asked them, “Why do all of you just hang out like this all day long, doing nothing?”
7. And they answered him, “Because no one is hiring right now…there’s no work for us to do.” So he told them, “All of you go over to my vineyard and start working, and I’ll pay each of you a fair wage.”
8. At sundown, when the workday was over, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call every one of the workmen and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones who have come in, and ending with the first.”
9. So, those who had been hired at five o'clock (the eleventh hour) came and received their day’s wages.
10. Now when the first ones came to be paid, they understandably supposed that they would get more than the ‘last’ people, but each of them received the very same amount that the other group received.
11. And when they looked at their pay, they angrily protested to the owner of the estate,
12. Saying, “This isn’t fair! These men who came in at five worked no more than an easy hour, and yet you’ve compensated them exactly the same as you have those of us who worked so hard…all day long…out in the scorching heat!”
13. But he calmly answered the irate group’s spokesman, saying, “Buddy, I’m not being unfair with any of you. We agreed on a wage, and that’s exactly what you were paid. Right?
14. So take your pay and just be happy with what you’ve got. If I choose to give to this man hired last the same as I give you, what difference does it make? No one is taking anything away from what is rightly yours.
15. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what is mine? It’s my vineyard and my money…and, furthermore, I never told you that I wasn’t going to hire other people. As long as it doesn’t affect you, negatively, why do you resent my generosity to others, or my philosophy of equal-opportunity employment?"
16. Once again, I’m showing you this concept of a great reversal, as it were…My Kingdom operates on these principles. Many who you would consider to be the first in line will actually end up being the last…and, as I’ve told you already, many whom you would consider to be the last will, in the big picture, actually be the first."
17. And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples off to the side of the road and said to them,
18. "All right…I need for you to listen to Me carefully. We’re not just on our way to Jerusalem…we’re heading toward the consummation of everything that’s been happening for the last three years…the grand finale to my time and purpose in this dimension. So I want to re-iterate…when we get to the city, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars, and they’re going to sentence Him to death.
19. Then they will hand Him over to the Romans to be mocked, tortured, and crucified. But, as I’ve been telling you, on the third day he will be raised up alive. I keep telling you this so that it will sink in…so that you won’t be taken by surprise when it all begins to happen.”
20. Around this time the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus, telling Him that she wanted to make a certain request.
21. He looked down at her and asked, “What do you want?" She answered Him, “I want you to give me your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your Kingdom. I want you to put one of them in a position at your right hand, and one in a place of recognition at your left hand."
22. Jesus responded to her, "Lady, you have no idea what you're asking." Then He looked over to James and John and said, "Do you boys think that you’re even capable of drinking the cup that I'm about to drink?" They said to Him, "Of course we are!”
23. Then Jesus said, "Yes…in reality you are going to drink my cup, even though you still don’t fully comprehend what’s about to happen. But as to awarding places of honor, I’ve put Myself into such a place of submission to the Divine will that that's not even My business now. My Father is taking care of that."
24. When the other ten disciples got wind of this conversation, they were thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers and their opportunistic mother.
25. So Jesus got them all together to settle things down a bit. He said to them, "Look, you've all seen how insecure, ungodly, power-drunk rulers throw their weight around, tyrannizing those who are ‘under’ them…
26. …well, it just can’t be that way with you. My Kingdom is bringing about a new order in the earth…a new reality, in which whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant,
27. and whoever desires to be in charge of everyone else must be willing to serve as everyone else’s slave!
28. Don’t you see…this is precisely what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served…He came to give away his life in exchange for all those who are held hostage by death."
29. And as they were going out of Jericho, a huge crowd followed along after Him.
30. And suddenly they came upon two blind men sitting beside the road. When they heard that it was Jesus passing by, they yelled out, "Lord, please have mercy on us! Have mercy, Son of David!"
31. For some reason the crowd tried to shut them up, but their attempts to stifle the men only caused them to get louder. They lifted up their voices, again crying, "Lord, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!"
32. Jesus, ignoring the crowd’s vain efforts to quiet them, stopped and called out to the two men, asking, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
33. They answered Him, “Lord, we just want our eyes to be opened!”
34. And Jesus, deeply moved by their persistence, as well as their simplicity, walked over to them and touched their eyes. And when He did, they instantly received their sight, and jumped up and joined the procession.