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The Way of the Follower

Moving Through Matthew   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This This morning we are back in Matthew and we have come to Matthew 20.
A few weeks ago, going back to Matthew 19, we see that Jesus entered Judea. Within Judea is the city of Jerusalem.
Now Jerusalem is a very important city. Jerusalem is the city in which Jesus would be arrested, the city in which he would be nailed to the cross, and the city in which three days later he would rise from the grave. And Jerusalem is also the city in which Jesus would leave the earth and ascend into heaven, and Jerusalem would be the city where the gospel would first be preached, then it would spread throughout the entire world over the next 2000 plus years.
Even today, people in many parts of the world are hearing the name Jesus for the first time and it all started from the city of Jerusalem.
But we haven’t come to Jerusalem yet. Next week Jesus will make his grand entrance into the city with the crowds cheering his as the Messiah. But just days later, the would be shouting “Crucify Him!”
But that is next week. This week we are in Matthew 20.
************CBC CREED**************
Open you Bible to Matthew 20.
Now before we begin in Matthew 20, let’s begin in Matthew 19:30
Matthew 19:30 ESV
30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
This last verse sets the stage for what Jesus will teach his disciples, and us in Chapter 20.
What I want you to see here is that Jesus continues his conversation. Even though there is a change from Chapter 19 to 20, the thought, the conversation is still the same. It continues.
Matthew 20:1–16 ESV
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
So as we look at this parable that Jesus speaks, we need to look at it through the filter of “many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matt 10:30)
So here is a parable, a story that is not real, that Jesus is using to make a point, so show a biblical principle.
Let me do this, let me tell tell this story in a way that we know well.
For the kingdom of heaven is like the engineer who went to the junction early in the morning and hire some workers to put concrete on the top of my house. He found some workers and told them he would pay them 5000 naira to come and work for the day. So they started to work at 9 in the morning. Then by 12 he needed more, and went to the junction and pick up some more workers to begin the work and finish at the end of the day. About 3 o’clock he went back to the junction and brought more workers that began to work. Then finally at 6 in the evening he brought more workers. The work was finished at 7 in the evening., and when he began to pay the workers, he gave a full days wage to those who were there one hour, four hours, 7 hours and 12 hours. No matter how long they worked he paid them the same. Everyone got 5000 Naira each. Those who work 12 hours, 5000 naira, those who worked 1 hours… 5000 naira.
Do you think that everyone will be happy? Would you be happy if you were there at 9 in the morning and worked all day?
The heavenly meaning here from this earthly story point to GRACE.
The workers that came within one hour didn’t deserve the full pay. Maybe they were even surprised. And that is the things about Grace. I don’t deserve the love of God. I am a person who fails all the time. I am a sinful person. I can easily say the same words Paul said and they would say the same thing about me:
Romans 7:24 ESV
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I have no hope. There is nothing that I can do. There is nothing that you can do. But there is an answer. GRACE. Right after Paul admitting that he was doomed, he goes on to say this...
Romans 7:25 ESV
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
GRACE! This story of an underserving person getting a full day wage is like an underserving person being rescued from our sin. I don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve it. But God looks at you and says I love you so much that I would make my Son give his life for you. That is Grace.
God’s grace is surprising.
We expect people to get what they deserve. if they act a fool. they will be treated like a fool. If they bring trouble upon people, then they will find trouble. But that is not how Jesus works. Jesus looks at the drunk man, he looks at the corrupt politician, he looks at you, and says I love you....even before you were born, I loved you. He extends grace.
1. God’s grace is surprising.
2. God’s grace is sovereign.
What do I mean by sovereign? This word sovereign means that he is involved in everything. He knows everything and nothing happens that he does not know about. So understanding that, he doesn’t have to offer grace, he can do what he wants. He can extend it to whoever he wants. And this is good news, because we don’t deserve his grace, but he still gives it.
Now look at verse 17:
Matthew 20:17–19 ESV
17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
This is the third time Jesus has given his disciples a picture of what was coming. First in Chapter 16, 17, and now 20. Look at the details he gives: he would be mocked (made full of, laughed at, put down), flogged (you know what that means right? But this flogging would be a whip, something that would hurt 100 times more than a kabo-ko) and crucified (killed, tortured, left for dead for all to see). All of that is bad! Very bad. But it ends with the good....raised on the third day. (mouth, their hands, and their darkened hearts)
This was the third time he told them of this. But they were not totally understanding it. Even as Jesus gives the details about what was going to happen to him..they didn’t fully understand. How do I know? Because of what happens next. Look at verse 20”
Matthew 20:20–28 ESV
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus just told them of the cruel way he would be killed: mocked, flogged, and crucified, then in verse 20 the mother of James and John steps up and ask if here sons could sit on each sit of Jesus when he comes into his Kingdom.
What was Jesus’s answer? You have no idea what you are asking. Then he asked, are you able to drink the same cup I will drink? What is this cup that Jesus talks about? He will talk about the cup again in Chapter 26. This is what he says there, he is praying to his Father and he says: Matthew 26:39
Matthew 26:39 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
This cup signifies what Jesus would physically and emotionally go through at the hands of the Romans. This cup is what he has told his disciples three times…it was coming. But still they didn’t understand. How could James and John both fully understand what the cup meant if the were to stand there and say”we can take it.”
Now, I believe they understood fully after Jesus was resurrected, but in this moment, they only wanted to be elevated above others. Church history records that James, this James, brother of John, was beheaded for preaching the gospel. And his brother John, the writer of John, 1,2,3 John and Revelation, was the only apostle not to be martyred or killed. He died of old age. But, a few years before he died we has placed inside a pot of boiling oil to die. He didn’t die and he lived more years. But looking back, these two disciples said they coudl drink of the same cup…and they did.
But in this moment, they only were looking unto themselves. But this is the opposite of why Jesus came. Look at that last verse:
Matthew 20:28 ESV
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Why Did Jesus Come?
He came to suffer.
He came to save.
He came to be our substitute.
He came to show us how to live.
Exalting Jesus in Matthew (Twelve Proud Disciples (Matthew 20:28))
• Jesus did not come to be served by you; He came to serve you.• Jesus did not come to be helped by you; He came to help you.• Jesus did not come to be waited on by you; He came to wait on you.
****Jesus Is Your Servant****
That’s crazy! So let me say it again. Jesus Is Your Servant.
Now that is hard to hear, and some would say, he is not my servant I am his servant. And that is also true.
So let me explain what I mean by saying Jesus is our servant, by first telling you what that does not mean. When I say that Jesus is your servant, I am not saying that we can tell Jesus what to do. Sadly, there are people would believe they can tell Jesus what to do. But they can’t and they have a false understanding of who he is and why he came if they think this way. So when I say that Jesus is our servant, that doesn;’t mean we can tell him what to do, but what it does mean is that he give us everything that we need. And #1 on teh Needs List from Jesus is salvation. Only he can give it.
And after the giving ad receiving of salvation, only he can sustain us by his mercy and grace as we live every day until the time we see him.
So, as a servant, he is ours…but we are his as well. We are servants to Him. Paul says in Romans 12:11
Romans 12:11 ESV
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
So is he our servant, or are we his? Both.
How can we serve the Lord? How can we exhalt Jesus? By serving others.
Look at what Jesus say in verse 26
Matthew 20:26 (ESV)
26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
You want to know who would be considered great in the eyes of the Lord? Look around. Look to find a follower of Christ who is loving others. Looking to meet needs. Serving. Giving of themselves. That is who Jesus looks at and says… you are great.
The last few verse of Chapter 20, Matthew records a conversation with Jesus and two men. Look at verse 29
Matthew 20:29–34 ESV
29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
This is a pretty simple story, but let’s not look past a wonderful meaning. These two men were blind and had no hope to see again. They seemed to be cast to the side because when they spoke up, the crowd told them to be quiet…shut up! But they were quiet, they called out again, and Jesus healed them.
Look at the meaning here. They realized that the only hope they had was Jesus. Even in the face of a shouting crowd, they boldly cried out to the only one who could help them. They cried for mercy knowing that he was the only one who could do the miraculous. He heard their cry, and he answered. He gave them sight.
That is how someone today comes before Jesus. The Holy Spirit reveals to them their need for a Savior, the only one who can pick them up and save them. So they cry out to Jesus, save me, I can’t do it on my own. And in their belief and confession he heals them of their greatness need…being lost. Now they are found. Now they have a Savior.
But don’t miss three words…and followed him.
They recieved their sight, but they didn’t run away and start to live a new life because they could see…the Bible say they followed him. Their new life began with sight, but continued as they daily walked with the Lord, growing in Him.
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