Matthew 19:30-20: 16. This is a longer passage than I usually write about all at once. I think we’ll probably be breaking it down a little bit at a time, but I don’t know how far I’ll go in each post. So, for today, I just want to look at 19:30 and 20:1. You will see from the context that 19:30 really belongs in the next chapter.
“But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.”
If you look down at 20:16, you will see the words repeated: “So, the last shall be first, and the first last.” As usual, Jesus had taken care to explain what His words meant. It is a kingdom parable, not to be confused with the Church Age or with heavenly rewards.
It was a common practice, at harvest time, for the owner or his foreman to go out and hire men by the day to work in the vineyard. The wages paid were per diem, agreed upon by both the workers and the owners. The work started early, in the cool of the morning, and went on into the evening. It was hot, dirty work. It needed strong men who could stand a hard day’s labor and were willing to give full value for the wage.