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Matthew 20

Jesus tells a story about some workers in a field

1 Jesus said, ‘I will tell you a story to show what the kingdom of heaven is like. There was an important man who had a field where he grew grapes. He went out early in the morning. He wanted to find some people who would work in his field. 2 The master agreed with the workers that he would pay them one silver coin for a day's work. Then he sent them to work in the field.

20:2A person usually received one small silver coin when he worked for one day.

3 The master went out again about three hours later. He saw some other men standing in the market place. They had no work to do. 4 So the master said to these men, “You also go and work in my field. I will pay you the right amount of money.” 5 So the workers went to the master's field and started to work.

The master went out again at noon, and he went again three hours after that. Both times he sent men to his field to work. 6 Two hours later, at 5 o'clock, he went out again. He found more men who were standing there. And they had no work to do. The master asked them, “Why are you standing here all day and you are not working?”

7 The men said to the master, “Nobody has asked us to work for him.”

So the master said to them, “You also go now and work in my field.”

8 Then the evening came. The master of the field went and spoke to the man who watched the workers. He said to him, “Tell the workers to come here. Pay them their money. Begin with the workers who started to work at the end of the day. Finish with the workers who started first.”

9 The workers who had come to work at 5 o'clock in the evening received one silver coin each. 10 The workers who had come first to work thought that they would receive more than the other workers. But each of them also received one silver coin. 11 When they received their money, they were not happy. They told the master that he had not been fair to them. 12 They said to him, “Some of these other workers came last and only worked for one hour. But you have paid them the same money as you paid us. And we have worked all day in the hot sun.”

13 Then the master said to one of the workers, “My friend, I am being fair to you. You agreed to work for one day and to receive one silver coin. 14 Take your money and go home. I choose to give this last man the same amount of money as I gave to you. 15 It is my money. I can choose what to do with it. I want to be kind to people and give them more. Does that make you upset?” ’

16 Jesus went on to say, ‘So, one day, those people who are not important now will become the most important. Those people who are very important now will become the least important.’

Jesus talks again about how he will die

17 Jesus and his disciples were going towards Jerusalem. As they walked along, Jesus took his 12 disciples away from the other people where he could speak to them alone. 18 ‘Listen!’ he said to them. ‘We are going to Jerusalem. There, someone will deliver the Son of Man to the leaders of the priests and the teachers of God's Law. These Jewish leaders will decide that I must die. 19 Then they will take me and they will deliver me to people who are not Jews. They will laugh at me. They will hit me with whips. Then they will kill me on a cross. But after three days, I will become alive again.’

20:19At this time, the ruler's soldiers would kill bad people on a cross. Soldiers fixed them to a big cross, made out of wood. They remained on the cross until they died.

The wife of Zebedee asks Jesus for something

20 Then the mother of James and John took them to see Jesus. (Their father was Zebedee.) She went down on her knees in front of Jesus. She asked him to do something good for her.

21 ‘What do you want me to do?’ Jesus asked her.

She said, ‘One day, you will be king. Then I want my two sons to rule with you. One may sit at your right side and the other one at your left side. Please will you do this?’

22 Jesus said to them, ‘You do not understand what you are asking for. I will have much pain and trouble. Are you ready to have the same pain?’

James and John replied, ‘Yes, we can do that.’

23 Jesus said to them, ‘Yes, that is true. You will have pain and trouble like mine. But I cannot promise that you will sit at my right side or at my left side. My Father God has chosen who will sit there. He has prepared the places for those people.’

24 When the other 10 disciples heard about this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 Then Jesus told all the 12 disciples to come to him. He said to them, ‘You know the things that rulers of other countries do. They show that they have great power over their people. The leaders of those countries use great authority over their people. 26 But you should not be like that. The person who wants to be great among you must become your servant. 27 The person who wants to be the most important person among you must work hard for everyone else. 28 Even the Son of Man himself came to earth to be a servant to other people. He did not come here to have servants who must work for him. No, he came to die so that many people can be free.’

Jesus causes two men to see again

29 Later, Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho. A large crowd of people followed him. 30 Two men were sitting at the side of the road. They were blind. But they heard that Jesus was walking past them. So they shouted, ‘Master! Son of David! Please be kind to us and help us.’

31 The people who were in the crowd were angry with them. They told them that they should be quiet. But the men shouted even louder, ‘Master! Son of David! Please help us!’

32 Jesus stopped there. He asked the two men, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

33 ‘Sir,’ the men replied, ‘we want to see again.’

34 Jesus felt sorry for the two men. He touched their eyes and immediately the men could see again. So they followed Jesus along the road.

20:34‘Son of David’ is another name for the special person, the Christ, that God would send to save his people. It is another name for Jesus.