Class Notes: 6/4/2014

Mark 10:31; Matt 20:1-16; How the first become last and the last become first

In our study of Mark we are in Mark 10:31; where Jesus stated that many who were first would be last and the last first.

The first are those who are guilty of arrogance. They are first chronologically but last in blessing in time and last in reward for eternity. In other words, the "first" who become last therefore refers to arrogant believers. Matt 23:12a;

The last are those who are last chronologically but they have God's Word resident in their soul so they have grace orientation and humility that results in their being first in blessing in time and first in reward for eternity. The word "last" who become first therefore refers to humble believers. Matt 23:12b;

In Matt 20:1-16; Jesus illustrates God's grace policy by setting up a parallel between God's policy of grace and the policy of a capitalist landowner in the agricultural economy of the ancient world.

In this passage we see two kinds of labor. One is "union" labor who are going to represent the first who become the last illustrating arrogance.

We then have non-union labor who represent the last that become first illustrating grace orientation and humility.

Jesus advocated free enterprise and He is using the free enterprise system to illustrate how some of the first will become last; and how some of the last will become first.

Matt 20:1; "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a "landowner." The Greek word is "oikodespothes" that means a capitalist, a man who manages an estate. The Greek word "oikos" refers to an economy.

A capitalist is a man who invests money into a business to create profit. He is the one who declares the policy of the business. It is his money that is invested in the business so he is the one who creates jobs for those who work there (labor). He is the one who pays the bills.

Matt 20:2; He starts out with union labor. These workers have the inside track so they get there first. "And when he had bargained with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard."

He went out at 6am and picked up the first group. These are union men who bargained for the day's labor. They are the only ones on the job with a contract and a predetermined negotiated pay rate.

v3 the third hour is 9am.
v4"whatever is right I will give you. And they went their way. No bargaining.
v5 - "the sixth and ninth hour" is twelve noon and 3pm. The same thing. No bargaining.

Matt 20:6;"the eleventh hour" is 5pm. v7 He hired the last group of laborers for 1 hour. No bargaining.

In all but the first group there is no bargaining, they simply believe and trust management to treat them fairly. The union labor is the first, the last is the non-union labor who have no contract. Only those who started at 6am have a contract.

We saw in Matt 20:2; that the labor union workers bargained with the capitalist for a day's wages, a denarius, and they have a contract for that day. They were under contract with management at an established pay rate.

The capitalist needed more labor so he kept on going out to get more labor so hired non-union labor. Management invests the money, makes the policy and pays the bills. Under divine establishment labor does not dictate to management, only under principles of evil does labor ever dictate to management.

It was the policy of this management to hire all of the labor that could be found and to treat them right. Under the laws of divine establishment capitalists, those who put up the money and management who manage the money, have the exclusive right to make policy for their business.

According to God's system of free enterprise neither the government nor labor have any right to make or interfere with the capitalist's policy regarding labor.

Note that the non-union labor did not bargain with management but left it up to the discretion and policy of management regarding what they should receive for their day's work or part of a day's work.

We see from this that a parallel is set up between union labor and legalism and non-union labor and grace orientation. In Jesus' analogy the union labor represents arrogance from self-absorption and the non-union labor represents humility from grace orientation.

Matt 20:8; "And when evening (6pm) was come." The non-union labor was divided into four groups. Each group had worked a different number of hours and they would be paid from the last group to the first.

This capitalist and his management team have a policy to pay everyone the same wage. He could pay those who came later anything he wanted to because they had no contract.

Management however chose to pay those who didn't bargain with him the same, even though they didn't work the entire twelve hours. That's a grace policy. And if that is their policy, that is what should and will happen.

v9 and when the 5pm group came each one received a denarius, a full day's wages. They had no contract; they simply trusted and believed that the capitalist to do what was right.

Matt 20:10; when the union labor came to be paid "they thought that they would receive more." They arrogantly assumed they would receive more.

Their assumption was arrogant. They had a firm contract that they had bargained for in good faith. They assumed wrong, they had a predetermined agreement with the capitalist for one denarius and he is going to stay with that contract in good faith.

The non-union labor made no deal they simply trusted management to do what was fair. Their faith was met by grace. They did not earn or deserve what they received but they received it anyway and that is grace. God's policy toward mankind is grace.

The union laborers who worked for twelve hours had contracted for a specific pay rate. Management was fair and just in paying them exactly what they had bargained for.

Jesus parable therefore not only advocates free enterprise for business but it emphasizes the importance of God's' grace policy for determining what each individual believer's eternal reward will be.

With his question in Mark 10:28; Peter is trying to negotiate with the Lord for his reward in advance. It is arrogant to assume that you can bargain with the Lord for reward or blessing.

Matt 20:11-12; When they ( the union labor) did not receive more (than the others) they complained that the last men had only worked one hour.

Matt 20:13-15; The capitalist did them no wrong because he paid them exactly what they had agreed to work for. He has a right to do what he will with his own money.

Arrogance does not understand grace, it maligns and judges grace. Arrogance has no doctrinal frame of reference from which to establish humility so that grace can be appreciated. The evil (envious) eye is the evil thinking of the labor union workers.

They are self absorbed and anti-establishment and our Lord condemns them. This same evil is destroying our nation today. This is the same sin of envy and implacability that drives the policy of our nation's government today.

It is why the present administration was voted in. Evil envious voters allowed themselves to be deceived by the propaganda that they would get healthcare for less. The self-absorbed voters sowed to the wind and now the nation is reaping the whirlwind of corruption that they voted for.

Like Peter, the labor union workers suffered from arrogance. Arrogance keeps the believer from yielding to the superior standard of God's matchless and perfect grace.

Grace is always related to capacity from God's Word never to works or production. This is a principle that very few believers understand so they will always be last even if they are first.

Matt 20:16; Mark 10:31; So many of the first will be last and the last first.

The phrase "for many may be called but few chosen" found in the KJV translation of Matt 20:16; is not in the original Greek manuscripts.

Principles: Rewards for believers in eternity depends on God's policy not the arrogant, legalistic, anthropocentric, self-absorbed standards of evil.

God does not bless the believer in time nor reward the believer in eternity on the basis of the arrogant standards of evil. Nor does He reward on the basis of any form of legalistic self-justification.

Arrogance is always critical of grace. When arrogance becomes critical of grace it is satanic evil.

In our passage, the first, who are under the influence of evil, are arrogant. They have arrogant thinking or "the evil eye"

The last are those who through doctrine resident in their soul have grace orientation, and grace humility. They are the super-grace believers who avoid the influence of evil in time, build grace capacity from the PMA of God's Word and become first in reward.

© Copyright 2022, Michael Lemmon Bible Ministries. World Rights Reserved.