As I read through Matthew chapters 19 through 24 I found myself constantly returning to the thought that Jesus is a fantastic communicator. His ability to speak the truth in an encouraging way to the faithful as well as the way He confronts religious elites is displayed beautifully in these six chapters. Christ uses parables to explain complex concepts in a way that can be easily understood by the hearer. However, we should be cautious to not get fixated on the style and delivery of a message and, in doing so, lose sight of the importance of the message.
In Matthew 20:1-16 Christ provides the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. It tells of the consternation of hired men who work differing numbers of the hours for the master, but all get paid the same amount, which they each agreed to when they were hired. The seeming unfairness of this outcome likely resonates with us even today. We can appreciate the indignation of those that worked all day and got paid the same as those that only worked the last few hours of the day.
The master’s response is “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” Please understand that this is much more that just a story with which we can relate. It is God telling you and me today that he created all and does as pleases Him.
The most impactful portion of today’s reading for me was when Christ outlined the gospel better and more succinctly than I have ever heard it said. After talking with the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-22, the disciples see what seemed like a righteous and wealthy man walk sorrowfully away from Jesus. He says to them an often repeated quote, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples are convinced that no one can be saved. What is Christ’s response? The gospel, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
That’s it. You, your works, your possessions can not and will not reconcile you with a holy God. But God made a way through His Son, Jesus Christ so that what is impossible with man is more than possible with God.