Verse by verse, we dig deeper into Matthew 20:1-16…

Hear the full audio of Bible Study from February 17th

02/17/19 Notes for Study of Matthew 20:1-16

INTRODUCTION: Today we have before us a Parable.

When we Lutherans say we read the Bible “literally,” we do not mean that every verse reports a historical fact and is meant to be understood as something that actually occurred. Most Bible narratives report historical people and events. Yet with a parable, we understand the literal meaning of this passage to indicate Jesus, the Son of God did use this story at that time for a teaching tool; it is literally to be understood as a Parable. It may or may not be based on an actual event. Instead, His story is meant to offer certain points of comparison, to speak about one thing in terms of another. My Pastor taught me this brief definition of a Parable: “A Parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Parable is a ‘genre’ or kind of speaking and writing we find especially in the Gospels. Parables make use of symbolism, metaphors, and proverbs. Jesus teaches this way to invite His hearers to meditate and ponder upon the deeper meaning of what He says. His story is simple, but His meaning profound and necessary for one to take to heart. The hearers are invited carefully to consider the characters, the speech and events taking place. There is a hidden meaning below the surface, one we will miss if we hear this story without faith, without believing it is truly meant to tell us about the kingdom of heaven, and not just about an unusual grape farmer.

PART ONE: Parables in Matthew

A.) Matthew records many such parables. A large group is found in Matthew 13.

B.) The disciples were curious about why Jesus taught in parables. Read Matthew 13:10-17 and 13:34-36.

C.) What reasons does Jesus give for teaching in parables?




D.) Does everyone understand His parables? Y/N

E.) How do some come to understand Jesus’ parables? (See 13:11-12, 16)



F.) Were the disciples able to arrive at their understanding on their own? Can we? (See 13:36)


PART TWO: “The Workers in the Vineyard”

G.) Jesus tells this parable to help the disciples better understand both the task they are given and His kingly reign in light of His saying, “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Matthew 19:30, 20:16)

H.) This parable is connected to what Christ began to say at the end of Matthew 19. Read Matthew 19:16-30)

I.) Concern for worldly wealth was just shown to be an obstacle to salvation, never sure proof of it. Though loss of property, wealth or family ties and relationships is sometimes viewed as sure proof of God’s displeasure or some fault of our own, Jesus promises reward for incurring and enduring such losses in faith, honored with much greater blessing afterward. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

J.) Read the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard again, Matthew 20:1-16.

K.) Who has all the wealth at the beginning of the parable? (20:1)


L.) How is that wealth then used? (20:2-9)




M.) Consider verses 10-12. How did those who were hired first respond to what they saw?


N.) What is their objection? (v.12)


PART THREE: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”

O.) Who is the “master of the house” and “owner of the vineyard”?


P.) Read verse 20:13. Is the master of the vineyard faithful to his word? Y/N

Q.) Read 20:14-15. What other quality does this master demonstrate?


R.) Will Heaven’s own King prove faithful to you? Y/N

S.) Will Heaven’s own King prove surprisingly generous to others? Y/N

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