Friday, February 3, 2012

Matthew 20

Laborers in the Vineyard

Jesus tells the story of a guy hiring workers for his vineyard. In the morning he hires some guys and makes a deal for a fair wage for the day (1 denarius). Throughout the day he hires more people, including a few people that he hired just an hour before the day was over. At the end of the day when he is paying them, he starts with the people he hired last and gives them 1 denarius. The people who have been working all day think they will get paid a bonus, but they also wind up getting 1 denarius. They complain and the owner of the place says they got what they agreed upon, it is not up to them if he is generous with the other workers.

I remember this story from when I was a kid. I remember thinking about it a lot as it does not seem fair at all. The fact that the people who worked all day got paid the same as people who only worked for an hour is definitely unfair. On the other hand, they are getting paid what seemed fair to them in the morning, and they made a deal. Perhaps a fair deal would be them to get paid what they agreed and the latecomers would get paid less, but should the workers from the morning want this? That would be a dickish thing to argue for, is that what this story is about?

When it comes down to it, I guess it is saying not to begrudge someone else being generous to a third party, which is good. But it also feels so unfair. Perhaps the moral is to not compare yourself to others. If the early worker focused on what he thought was fair originally instead of looking at what the late worker got he would be happier. This seems like it might lead people to be taken advantage of, sometimes it is important to look around at the deals other people are getting to make sure you are getting a fair deal.

Clearly I am a little conflicted on this passage, anyone have input?

Jesus Fortells His Death a Third Time

Title says it all

A Mother's Request

A mother asks Jesus if her sons can sit at his right and left hand in his kingdom. He says it is not for him to decide. He says in his kingdom, those who are great are the servants, as Jesus has come to serve, not to be served.

Pretty sure there is a message here I have missed. I read it a few times but I don't get it. He says the rulers should be serving the people, this sounds a bit like (idealized) democracy. Is that just be grafting my ideals onto what I'm reading? I'd love some input here.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

Title pretty much says it all


  1. FYI: I posted this to reddit.

    An interpretation of the vineyard story given there was that working in the field is like being a Christian and the pay at the end of the day is like getting into heaven. This is an interpretation I hadn't thought of, it is interesting.

  2. If you don't ask too many questions, the first parable makes sense. It also goes the other way around too. Someone who blasphemes the holy spirit once in their life is burning in the same place as Hitler, Pol Pot, or Genghis Kahn.
    A Mother's Request. You might also check out the same story in Mark 10:35-37, it is actually James and John who ask, and not the mother.
    Jesus heals two blind men. In Mark (10:46) and Luke (18:35) there was only one blind man who was healed. In Luke it also says that this occurred as they were approaching Jericho rather than leaving it.
    The Son of David. I believe that this passage reffers to Jesus' being a "descendant of David" even though Joseph was "not" the father.

  3. the healing the blind thing, is it possible they are reporting on 2 separate events? He heals blind people all the time doesn't he?

  4. At first, I actually did think about that. He does all sorts of crazy miracles all the time. But you might want to decide for yourself.. How do you highlight, bold, or underline stuff?

    This story Matthew 20: "Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
    29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" 33 They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him."

    Mark 10: "Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
    46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart. Get up; he is calling you." 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight." 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way."

    Luke 18 "Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
    35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." 38 And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me recover my sight." 42 And Jesus said to him, "Recover your sight; your faith has made you well." 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God."

    Now that I'm thinking about it, you may be right. I could imagine the first blind guy getting healed and telling his two blind friends (I imagine people that God cast disabilities on were all ostracised and probably bonded). "Hey guys! You gotta catch this one guy named Jesus before he leaves town! He totally healed my sight! Now here's what you gotta say to him..."

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. If anyone is wondering, I only removed the above post because it was a double post :)

  6. The Mark and Luke stories they are coming to Jericho, the Matthew story they are leaving. This at least gives the possibility that they are separate similar incidents. I see no reason to assume otherwise, there are often similar stories repeated (Jesus feeds the 4 and 5 thousand for example)

    html tags seem to work

    < i > italics < / i >
    < b > bold < / b >

    just remove the spaces to make it work

  7. Sorry about the duplicate post >_<

    While it is plausible, this guy says the "contraction" is a part of the same event, but explains the differences in accounts thus:

    The part about the one man vs two men. (absence of the details of something in one account doesn't mean it didn't happen.)

    "By looking at the context of these two accounts, it is evident that the same event is being described by the writers. Again, as with last weeks' Answering The Atheist, Matthew mentions two men, this time who are blind, while Mark speaks only of one blind man. The apparent discrepancy is easily explained. Matthew would have been with the Lord, and was very specific in mentioning the fact that there were two blind men present, but did not give a specific detail which Mark provides. Mark was not present with the Lord, but writing of the incident as directed by the Spirit reveals that one of the men who called to Jesus was Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. Perhaps to avoid confusion for the reader, Mark does not mention the second blind man."

    I'm not really satisfied with this explanation. Even though in court something like this would draw a red flag, you can't totally dismiss it. However, the same holy spirit that inspires the writers of the gospels, for one reason or another, seems to inspire different stories sometimes. But, from what this writer was saying, does that mean that Matthew's account is a direct retelling and recalling of events, but Mark's gospel is an inspired account of events? I was under the impression that they were all inspired. Maybe someone else with a little more knowledge can clear this up for me as the explanation sounds a lot more like pure speculation.

  8. He also has a page on the coming vs going: (a mistranslated word)

    "But then we come to the time of the healing. Was it as Jesus entered into the city of Jericho, or was it while he was on his way out of town? Matthew and Mark's accounts are both very clear, that this occurred as they "...went out of Jericho..." The Greek word ekporeuomai is used, which literally means to depart or proceed. Luke does not use the same word, but rather used the Greek word eggizo, which is often translated in the KJV as "draw nigh" or "at hand". The word can refer to the approach to a location, but likewise can simply denote proximity to a place. In Mark 11:1, the same word is used, not to speak of Jesus entering into Jerusalem, but to indicate that He was near Jerusalem, for He was at Bethphage and Bethany.

    Can one be near to a place, after having left that place? Certainly. Since the healing of the blind men took place " he went out of Jericho...", it is most certainly appropriate to say that he was "nigh" (near) Jericho at the time. Young's Literal Translation does a good job in translating Luke 18:35. There we read, "And it came to pass, in his coming nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the way begging..." Luke's account neither says that Jesus was entering or leaving the city, but rather than at some point in the time " his coming nigh..." to the city, this occasion took place. "

    I think this explanation is more plausible. Having studied abroad for a year, I understand the translation issue. Sometimes words don't quite have the same meaning or concept when translated. One quick example, in German, the word "Heimat" can translate to "homeland." In one of my German courses we watched an episode of the epic series by the same name. When asked, my professor actually spent a whole lecture explaining the significance of this word in the German culture. I know the bible has so many translations, but it seems like such an important work would have translators that should be able to "hammer out" these language problems. I've read in a few books, that sometimes things are purposely mistranslated in order to avoid dogmatic issues, however, unlike some of these authors, I don't know Greek or Hebrew so I can't say for sure.

  9. The translation issue for the coming or going seems like a reasonable explanation to me. Like you I have no way of looking into this myself, but it seems reasonable so it is good enough for me for now.

    The one or two people thing is much more dubious to me.


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