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Ferrar Fenton Bible: Matthew 20

The Labourers' Grievance

"For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer, who went out in the early morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the workmen for a denarius1 the day, he sent them into the vineyard. Then going out again at nine o'clock, he found others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, 'You go also into my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' They accordingly went. Afterwards, going out about noon, and at three o'clock, he did the same. Then going out about five o'clock and finding others standing, he asked them, 'Why do you stand here idle all the day?' 'Because no one has hired us,' was their reply. He said to them, 'Then you also go into the vineyard; and whatever maybe right I will pay.'

"When the evening arrived, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, 'Call the workmen, and pay them their wages, beginning from the last, onward to the first.' And those engaged about five o'clock received each one a denarius. Then when the earliest hired hands came up, they concluded that they would receive more; but they only received each one a denarius. But on taking it, they grumbled against their employer, exclaiming, 'Why, these last comers have only worked one hour; yet you have made them equal to us, who have borne the weight of the day, and the scorching heat!'

"'My good fellow,' he answered one of them, 'I do not wrong you; did you not bargain with me for a denarius? Take your wages, and go. I intend to give this last comer the same as yourself. Am I not allowed to do what I like with my own? or, is your eye malicious, because I am good-natured?' In the same way, the last may be first, and the first last."

Going to Jerusalem

Then, Jesus, going up towards Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples privately aside on the way, and said to them, "We are now going up to Jerusalem: and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and professors, who will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him over to the heathen to be insulted, and flogged, and crucified; but the third day He will rise again."

A Mother's Request

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Him with her sons; and kneeling, asked Him to grant her a favour.

"What do you wish?" He asked her.

"Promise," she said to Him, "that these my two sons may sit, one upon Your right, and the other upon Your left, in Your Kingdom."

"You know not what you ask!" said Jesus, in reply. "Are you able to drink the cup which I am about to drink? and to be baptized with the baptism I shall be baptized with?"

"We are able," was their reply.

Then He said to them, "You shall certainly drink of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with; but to sit upon My right and upon My left is not Mine to grant, except to those for whom it is prepared by My Father!"

When the ten heard this, they were indignant about the two brothers.

But Jesus, calling them to Him, said: "You know that the rulers of the heathen lord it over them, and their strong ones oppress them; but it must not be so among you. On the contrary, whoever desires to be promoted among you, let him be your attendant; and whoever may desire to take rank among you, let him be your servant: just as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give up His own life as a ransom for many."

Eyesight for Two Blind Men

When they were leaving Jericho, a great crowd followed Him. And two blind men, who were sitting by the roadside, learning that Jesus was passing by, called out, exclaiming, "Have mercy upon us, Master, Son of David!"

And the crowd ordered them to be silent; but they merely called out the louder, exclaiming, "Pity us, Master, Son of David!"

Then Jesus, standing still, spoke to them, and asked, "What do you wish Me to do for you?

"Master," was their reply, "that our eyes may be re-opened."

Jesus, full of pity, accordingly touched their eyes; and at once they saw again: and they followed Him.


  1. Denarius, equivalent to about 2s. 6d.

Transcribed by Mark Hicks on 01-01-2015