Daily Word

Twist on a twist | Matthew 20:1-16

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning at dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a [ a ] denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour (9:00 a.m.) and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right (an appropriate wage).’ And they went. 5 He went out about the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), and did the same thing. 6 And about the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They answered him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them, ‘You go into the vineyard also.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last [to be hired] and ending with the first [to be hired].’ 9 Those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) came and received a denarius each [a day’s wage]. 10 Now when the first [to be hired] came, they thought they would get more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they protested and grumbled at the owner of the estate, 12 saying, ‘These men who came last worked [only] one hour, and yet you have made them equal [in wages] to us who have carried [most of] the burden and [worked in] the scorching heat of the day.’ 13 But the owner of the estate replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go, but I choose to give to this last man [hired] the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not lawfully permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? Or is your eye [ b ] envious because I am generous?’ 16 So those who are last [in this world] shall be first [in the world to come], and those who are first, last.”

Matthew 20:1-16 (AMP)


In the previous passage, Jesus told about the rewards His disciples (then and now) will receive. The period on that teaching was, “the last will be first and the first last”. In this passage He gives us a parable to help better understand this teaching which is so counter-cultural, actually even counter-intuitive across cultures.

Twist on a twist

When we consider Jesus’ notion of last becoming first, we assume that when the last becomes first, the first is demoted…to last. This parable helps us see what Jesus is teaching: the one hired last received the same wage as the first; and the first still got his wages. It’s a twist on a twist of thinking. 

The context, we remember, is entry into heaven. So the reward in the parable is entry to Heaven. The point? God administers His grace as He wishes. And thank God He does or none of us would be saved! Those who come to faith early in life and have a life of service will receive the same salvation as those who come to faith at the end of life. The context also tells us that our labor on earth (sacrificing for the Kingdom) will result in rewards in Heaven.


  • Let’s give God thanks for His abundant grace. He is willing to save anyone at any time from any sin if they will repent and believe. If you haven’t yet, click here.
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  1. I am a born-again Christian, in the year 1981 of March I asked the LORD to forgive me a sinner and to come into my life and help me to be the person He would have me to be. I am praying for the body of Christ to stop compromising with the world and to be ready for His imminent return. I cannot get e-mails as my internet provider updated something and now, I can’t access E-mail address.

    1. Thanks for sharing. This must be frustrating. Hope it get’s worked out. And keep praying for His body – to be pure and holy – read for His return. If you want daily reminders, if you have Whatsapp or Line, I can add you to a list that gets daily updates with links. Otherwise, you can just go to the site daily.

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