The Workers in the Vineyard


A parable takes a commonly-understood truth and uses it as a foundation (or a principle) to explain some other truth.  In other words, it takes what the audience already understands and then uses this understanding to explain something the audience does not understand.

In Matthew 20, the parable of the workers in the vineyard teaches some important spiritual truths.  This parable teaches about God’s sovereignty, His justice, His faithfulness to His promises, His grace and mercy, and we cannot forget verse 16, “So the last will be first and the first will be last”.  Volumes can be written (and have been) about the many important spiritual concepts that are conveyed in this passage.

Most teaching on this parable rightly focuses on the spiritual lessons that it is intended to teach, but here, I would like to discuss the underlying assumptions of the parable—those concepts that Jesus’ audience are assumed to already understand.

In this parable, there are a number of assumptions that each communicate something about the world.  In His telling of the parable, Jesus assumes the following principles to be true…

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