GOSPEL MEDITATION # 11
Laborers in the Vineyard
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- From memory, determine the central points.
- “The kingdom of heaven is like,” is Jesus’ way of introducing a comparison, a parable, and “heaven” is plural, or heavens.
- This construction, “heavens” may mean that heaven, God’s presence, is unlike anything we could ever imagine. Can we as created humans ever be capable of comprehending the glory of God? Likely not, thus comparisons can only be used.
- The denarius, the top wage for a full day’s work, is given to only those sent out at 6am. The work day was divided into four parts: 6-9am, 9am to 12noon, noon to 3pm, then 3pm to 6pm. The first workers would be working in the vineyard 12 hours and thus would bear the heat as well as the full burden of the day.
- The master proceeds to send others out during the day, late arrivers and for whatever reason, until finally some arrive at 5pm yet are sent off. Notice no wage is agreed upon for the later workers.
- At the end of the day, all the workers received a full day’s wage, a denarius. Those who had worked the whole day grumbled.
- The master points out that he had done them no wrong; they received what was agreed upon. And we notice, the master called them “friend.”
- One of the lessons seems to be that the master is fair and has a right to do whatever he wills. The master’s plea is: do not be angry at me over this, but allow me to be generous. And again we hear, the last will be first, and the first last.
- To whom does Jesus direct the parable? Those who begrudge “grace” may be the scribes and Pharisees, but such attitudes could easily develop in the Vineyard. Jesus wants, I believe, to prevent this.
- As to the vineyard, is this Jesus’ references the ekklesia?