Wednesday, April 29, 2009

MITN XX

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.

9 comments:

dgm2007 said...

I love that you used the word Buddy.. awesome.. Good lesson story what have you.. Life isnt fair.. a lot of ppl say that with a bad look on there face but I am all about the phrase. I really love when people tell you 'hey hey what your trying to do isn't possible..' all I can think is yo 'Buddy lifes not fair and you have no idea who I am..' hehe A touch random on my part but I enjoyed reading this and my thoughts are just la.
verse 18 threw me off.. It was like he was speaking in code or something just weird.

Northern Light said...

34. And Jesus, deeply moved by their persistence, as well as their simplicity,...

As from a previous story of the woman,who was persistent and got Jesus attention, to the shock of the crowd....I, again, relate to the "persistence".

I believe that despite others who see it as a negative quality or personality trait, it is a matter of conviction, of belief, of want that is NOT despised by Jesus. I will hang on to mine...thank you very much!

Peace,
Northern Light

Anonymous said...

"Yes…in reality you are going to drink my cup, even though you still don’t fully comprehend what’s about to happen...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."

This must be among the top teachings given deep thought to by those who have given themselves to being an angel of the evangel.

He told them they would drink His cup and as far as we know all the first evangelist did. I've grown to understand that cup as being something more than suffering persecution and perhaps martyrdom though. Within the quotation is the internal dispute among Jesus' closest followers at the time and his settling the matter by explaining to them what the cup was all about. It is in unpretentious service that the real goodness of humanity is found. We may go to such extremes of either gathering a network of followers that can be used to intimidate and terrorize others or sink into some lowly state of false humility to gain recognition as someone to be exalted but the real truth of what we are comes out in our every day lives. Just by causing someone to smile does much good in the kingdom and that can be accomplished by just our very presence in the space of someone who needs to smile.

I've thought about the meaning of the latter workers recieving the same pay as the first and there is a real understanding that comes to those who have been workers and also employers of other workers. As the day progresses in the workplace production drops off and attitudes decline because of fatigue and often those involved don't even know what is happening to them. A fresh group of workers near the latter part of the day accomplish more in an hour than the first group, walking around like a group of dpressed zombies, has in the past three or four hours and they are usually cheerful in their work. Perhaps the owner of the vineyard gave consideration to the productivity of the two groups or perhaps he was just given a great blessing by the cheerfulness of the second group that he appreciated more than the grumbling his spirit had been oppressed by from the first group. The wage of the second group really could have been based of the human exchange of smiles.

Smiles go a long way. There is a mile between the beginning and the end of them.

Sometimes when I am getting tired of something I just smile at myself in the mirror. That usually makes me laugh and causes my wife to question my sanity. I usually reassure her though by saying the answer to that question should be obvious by now.

Izumi/JOY said...

v.1 "...the heavens operates like this: Imagine..."

v. 2 - 5 - The estate owner found agreement. I appreciate how the transitions remind me of God's good, acceptable & perfect will.

v. 6 - Never knew that the eleventh hour was approximately 5 o'clock. (around quitting time for some work places...interesting)

v. 8 - 28 - Maybe way out of context, so, I'll repent in advance. Earlier, Jesus discussed a certain order (Elijah before Himself, restoration, readiness, mustard seeds & taxes - paying collectors according to their systems) with the disciples.

Thursday's lesson - divine order, again. Children, competition, jockeying for favor. Differences between being earth's subjects & Kingdom citizens.

And, reconciliation with the Father.

Wouldn't it be just like Him to plant Pharisees in His own vineyard? (fulfilled Scripture - vinegar would be necessary to sop that sponge)

v. 30 - I like imagining the moment the "blind" men recognized & addressed Jesus as Son of David (wild & crazy praiser).

What if his anointing manifested in their midst (2 or more gathered in his name, touching the Lord, via one who vowed he'd be even more vile with his praise.) Incensed some but God dug it.

Was it silver, gold, wisdom, reputation, status? A request for a camel to ride through a narrow gate?

No. Just, Mercy - let us see You.

He did. (even Moses wasn't allowed that, in his time. Think he might have had some issues about that?)

Amazing!

Pastor Dennis said...

I'm always amazed when I read this chapter. The seemingly upside-down ways of the kingdom always bewilder and sometimes anger those without understanding.

This is an easy read and flows well.

The last line about "persistence" really spoke to me because it seems more than anything this is all I have had to offer the Lord in my journey with Him.

Peace,
Dennis

Anonymous said...

Box Stars - Stars right out da box!


wv... aracen

Izumi/JOY said...

Here's fresh manna, I just found!

2. ...and then went right to the task at hand...

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.

Avatar said...

v.13...I like the "calmly". It takes a lot to choose "calm" when anger is levied.

My paradigm with older paraphrases is usually to make the leap to Jesus being the vineyard owner and seeing the way He treats us. But in MITN it's easier to see the Kingdom life and responses of the vineyard owner--as a human being. Easier to see that the vineyard owner was helping both workers...the 11th hour workers with compassion since they couldn't find work...the first hour worker's with a vision of generosity and freedom from the tyranny of an attitude of entitlement.

v.16..."the great reversal" with explanation. This reminds me of JITN's long paraphrase of the shortest verse in the Bible...rich with the vision that comes from meditation on the message that the original words were intended to send.

Avatar said...

v.19... "I keep telling you this"...
This is cool. It's sort of like a "therefore--what's it there for?" phrase...reminding us to put things in context. Of course MITN would help us do that!

vs.25...now there's some defining words for "lord it over"! I've not noticed before that these words followed so closely after James and John desired to be important and in power. I wonder if the boys "got" that they weren't ready to rule yet? Also, good leadership recognizes what is happening "in the ranks" and fixes it. I like that MITN makes it clear that that is what Jesus was doing.

v.31..."for some reason"...well, duh...why would the crowd have wanted to keep them quiet? MITN asks us to ask questions...cool.

v.34..."persistence AND simplicity"...important adjustments for understanding the nuances of walking in Kingdom understanding...helping open our eyes more fully so we can join the real procession.