2023-04-02 “Loving Kindness Enables Us Rejoicing to the End”(Matthew 20:8-16)

Loving Kindness Enables Us Rejoicing to the End 恩情使我們能笑到最後“(Matthew 馬太福音 20:8-16)

… the owner of the vineyard … Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first. The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. … who were hired first … expected to receive more. But … also received a denarius. … began to grumble against the landowner. … But he answered … “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? … I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

… 園主 … 把工人叫來,給他們工錢,從最後的開始,到最先來的。那些下午五點鐘才開始作工的人來了,每個人都領到一個銀幣。最先作工的人 … 以為會多得一點,但 … 也是領到一個銀幣。… 就埋怨家主 … 家主回答 … 說:‘朋友,我並沒有虧待你。你我不是講定了一個銀幣嗎?… 我給那後來的和給你的一樣,是我的主意。難道我不可以照自己的主意用我的財物嗎?還是因為我仁慈你就嫉妒呢?’因此,在後的將要在前,在前的將要在後。

Lord Jesus used this parable of the vineyard owner/workers to answer Peter’s question on what the reward in following Him would be in Matthew 19:27: firstly, a promise of reward (19:28); secondly, a warning that God’s manner of distributing reward is not necessarily human manner (19:30); and here finally an illustration on the principle that God’s manner of rewarding is not the same as men expect. The owner did exactly as promised but the workers’ supposition of more pay than promised was disappointed. The reasons for the owner’s generosity were completely in the owner himself, not in the ones who received. ‘The last will be first, and the first will be last’ (20:16) is the essence of God’s grace, when He rewards and blesses man according to His will and pleasure, not necessarily according to what men deserve (the system of law).

主耶穌用這葡萄園主人/工人的比喩,去回答彼得在馬太福音 19章27節裡問,跟從祂會得到甚麽的問題:首先,一個回報的應許(19章28節);其次,一個神分配回報的方式,不一定是人的方式的警告(19章30節);並最後在這裡,一個原則的說明,神回報的方式與人預期是不一樣的。園主完全地作了所承諾的,但是工人以為會比承諾多得的假定是失望的。園主慷慨的理由是完全在於園主自己,不是在於那接受的人。當神按著自己的旨意和喜悦,不一定按著人所應得的(律法的體系),去回報和祝福人時,「在後的將要在前,在前的將要在後」(20章16節)就是神恩典的精髓。

Prayer: Gracious and Loving Father, the system of grace is often foreign to us: you deal with us according to who you are, not according to who we are. Thank you for assuring us that we should expect to be rewarded. Help us not to be surprised if, when rewards are distributed, you will reward others in unexpected ways because your grace which always operates righteously does not give us more blessing than we deserve, i.e. completely apart from the principle of deserving. Amen.


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