This past Sunday at CrossHope Chapel we examined the 20th chapter of Matthew, but we spent the bulk of our time discussing the parable of the workers in the vineyard.
The chapter engaged us with the stories of Jesus healing two blind men, the mother of James and John asking Jesus to make her sons the two highest in command when He establishing His kingdom, and Jesus sharing the prophetic details of the events when they get to Jerusalem.
While we covered the entire chapter we had the most discussion on Matthew 20:1-16 and Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard. We saw in this parable lessons regarding death-bed conversion and some fundamental difference between life on this side of Heaven and life in Heaven.
We take hope in that the Lord judges men’s hearts, not just their words, so we are fairly certain that what may appear to us as a death-bed conversion may really be a last minute decision brought about after years of convictions working on the person but unaware to others.
One lesson from the parable was that a follower of Christ who has walked with Him for a lifetime will have the same Heaven that the thief on the cross will have.
A big difference between our world today and our world in Heaven is that here we strive to earn and labor for anything we want and perceive as good, but all good things in Heaven will come to us only by faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ has already accomplished.
One thing we all admitted in our discussion was we could empathize with the laborer in the parable who worked all day for the same wage as the one who worked only one-hour. However, we had to remind ourselves that Jesus introduced the parable as “the kingdom of heaven is like” (Matthew 20:1 NIV) and that brings it into perspective.
God’s word directed us in a truth regarding a difference of kingdoms and a choice to live by. In this world we must learn to let go of situations that seem unfair and not focus on them or allow them to eat us up inside, so they don’t steal away our peace, joy, and hope in the eternal world that awaits.
On a final encouraging note, when Jesus said “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16 NIV) he was stating that all will be equal in eternity. We will all enjoy equally the beauty of Heaven, being equally appreciated in the eyes and expressions of the heavenly host, and there will be no such thing as “us against them” or “commoners vs elites.”
Satan has created a world of separation and division within the human family but with his demise will come the end of divisive separations. In Heaven there will be no divisions like rich and poor, black and white, crippled and healthy, have’s and have-not’s, or any number of differences that our sinful world seems to accentuate.
There is a separation that is necessary, like separating from associations who wish to do harm or detract from righteous purposes. Generally speaking, separation is a result of Satan’s work against breaking up fellowship with one another and with God Himself.
Isaiah 59:2 states that “your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (NIV). When sin entered the Garden of Eden, immediately Adam and Eve were separating themselves from the Lord by hiding. The Genesis account goes on to detail the separation of man from each other.
Thankfully, even in today’s world of separation and division we have this encouraging hope in Isaiah 59:1 which reminds us, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (NIV).
So we trust in the Lord and wait for His appearing and long for the eternity we will have with the redeemed.
We’ll expound a little more on this, this Sunday then we’ll be in the 21st chapter of Matthew the following week.
Until then, I am praying for you all.