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the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
state. In order to make this meaning manifest, it may be observed that the word here translated regeneration is applied by a Greek writer to express the state of the earth when restored from the flood; and by another Greek writer, to express the renewed state of the Jewish nation after the Babylonian captivity was ended. It is necessary to make a slight alteration in the punctuation of the verse (which we are at liberty to do, as the punctuation did not proceed from divine authority), and to place the comma after the words followed me. The verse would then read, ye which have followed me, in the regeneration [in the new order of things] when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory [on his glorious throne, as the great king of Israel; for thus the people were in the habit of regarding the Messiah, namely, as king of the Jews, or of Israel], then, in that regenerated state of things, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones. That is, the Lord Jesus would, as the Messiah, be signally honored, and these disciples would partake of his honors; he would appear as the king of Israel; they too should be in royal state. The manner of expressing this idea was drawn from the circumstance of there having been twelve disciples, and of Israel having been divided into twelve tribes. In conformity with the then current mode of speaking about the Messiah, Jesus represented himself as a great king over the whole people of Israel, and his twelve disciples as twelve subordinate kings, or rulers, each over a tribe. In this way he wished to make the impression that a state of consummate glory awaited them, after the services which they should render on earth. In no stronger manner could he express this thought to the disciples, such was the |
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands,
state of opinion and of feeling at that time. With Israel, as the chosen people of God, the disciples, in common with other Jews, associated ideas of singular privileges and glory; they were expecting, as a result of the Messiah's coming, a restoration of the ancient dignity and prosperity of the nation, and the subjection of other nations to it; and it was, in their opinion, by becoming Jews, by being incorporated into their nation, that other people were to be really blessed, and to become the people of God. When that state of things should be brought about, and lasting glory be conferred on the people of Israel, nothing could be greater than to be king of this people, and to be chief officers under the King Messiah. || Judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The term judge is of similar import to our word rule, or govern; the mention of the twelve tribes of Israel is only an extension of the preceding idea, and representing the dignity as exceedingly illustrious on account of its being over the people of God, the Israelites. The simple idea conveyed by this language was, that when the Messiah should have finished his work, and entered upon his reign over the regenerated people of God in glory, these disciples should be partakers of his glory, and should be signally honored. The language here employed, must be understood in accordance with the spiritual nature of the Saviour's government, and of the rewards which he will bestow.
29. And every one, &c. The Saviour proceeded to observe, that not only Peter and his fellow-disciples should attain to signal honor and happiness, as the Messiah's servants, but every one who should possess a spirit of entire submission and cordial attachment to him, and should endure privations and sufferings for his sake,
for my name's sake, shall re
ceive a hundred fold, and shall FOR
inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
should also receive a distinguished recompense, both here and hereafter. Mark (10:30) and Luke (18: 30) make mention of " this present time,' and of" the world to come." Mark, in the verse just referred to, says, "with persecutions." That is, he must expect persecutions in this world, as well as a measure of bliss; though, as my disciple, he will have my favor and be happy, yet he must make calculations for not being exempt, while on earth, from trials on
account of the cause of Christ.
30. But many, &c. Having spoken so freely of the honors and happiness which would be bestowed at the consummation of his dispensation, the Saviour subjoined a proverbial saying, the design of which appears to be, in this connection, to check any undue self-estimation that might possibly arise in their hearts. He cautioned them, that some, who are now held in high esteem, will not have a proportionate dignity hereafter; while others, who receive but little honor, if any, here, will be blessed with distinguished honor hereafter. The disciples ought not to fix their hearts upon honors; for, as to these, the distinctions which exist on earth will not
continue in heaven. The distin
guished here may occupy a low place there; the disesteemed here may cupy the highest place there. And all who arrive at heaven will have reason to regard themselves as greatly
1. For, &c. The parable which now follows, is immediately connected with the preceding conversation, and nection with it. Many persons fail to ought to be read in immediate conperceive the design of the parable, in consequence of its being separated from the conversation of which it is a part. The Saviour had just cautioned esteem and undue expectations in the disciples against an undue selfregard to honors in the heavenly kingdom, by letting them know that it would not be a matter of course that those who on earth might be rean earlier entrance upon his service, garded as first, either on account of which they might have here acquired, or any more honorable distinction would have a corresponding honora ble distinction in heaven. He wished now to show them, that the honors and bliss of heaven would be bestowed in a manner that would signally display the goodness and bountiful disoc-illustrate this matter by a parable, a position of God. He proceeded to parable seems to be, that God will familiar similitude. The point of the distribute the rewards of heaven according to his own good pleasure, so as to illustrate his own mercy and liberality; and not in accordance with expectations that might result from a human view of men's comparative merit. Thus the Saviour would check the spirit of pride, and of envy and jealousy, and of the seeking of honors; and would cultivate
As parallel passages, examine Mark
10: 17-31. Luke 18: 18-30.
Let us REFLECT ON
1. The danger connected with being rich. vs. 23, 24. Compare 1 Tim. 6:17.
CHAPTER XX. NOR the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
2. The proper use of riches. v. 21. Compare i Tim. 6: 18, 19.
3. The unspeakable value of heaven, as contrasted with even the highest dignity on earth.
4. The reasonableness of self-denial, for the sake of Christ. Heaven will make amends for all losses and sorrows.
2 And when he had agreed | He saith unto them, Go also with the laborers for a penny into the vineyard; and whatsoa day, he sent them into his ever is right, that shall ye revineyard.
8 So when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should
6 And about the eleventh have received more; and they hour he went out, and found likewise received every man a others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I will give you. And they went their
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
among his disciples the spirit of humble submission to God, of gratitude for being permitted to occupy any place in the divine kingdom, and of mutual joy at one another's advancement and bliss. ||The kingdom of heaven is like, &c. As if our Lord had said, The state of things in the Messiah's reign may be likened to the conduct of a certain householder.
2. A penny a day. The coin here mentioned bore the value, according to some accounts, of about nine cents of our money; according to others, of fourteen. This was the usual pay for a day's labor.
3. Third hour; corresponding to nine o'clock in the morning, according to our reckoning. The day was at that time divided into twelve hours (see John 11: 9); and the night into the same number. We shall have a sufficiently correct notion of the manner of reckoning, if we consider the day uniformly as beginning at our six
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house,
12 Saying, These last have o'clock, so that the time from six to seven o'clock would correspond to the first hour of the day. Marketplace. The word thus translated signifies the place where articles were exposed for sale, where trials were attended and assemblies collected. It was, therefore, a place of public and common resort, suitable for finding laborers.
4. The laborers here spoken of were merely promised that they should receive a suitable compensation.
5. Sixth and ninth hour; twelve o'clock, and three in the afternoon.
6. Eleventh hour; one hour before the close of the day.
8. His steward. The man who had charge of his business.
11. Good man of the house. The original word is the same as is translated in the first verse householder. It is an old expression, equivalent to our word proprietor, or master of the family.
wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and
15. Is thine eye evil? Because I am kind and benevolent, and wish to treat a person abundantly better than his deserts and his expectations, wilt thou indulge in envy, and look on me with suspicion? An evil eye means an envious eye, or simply envy.
16. So the last, &c. This verse repeats the proverbial saying, which it was the design of the parable to illustrate. The laborers who came last, were, by the signal kindness of the proprietor, put on an equality with the others in regard to compensation. Those who entered the vineyard first, received a fair and ample compensation, and ought not to have complained of the signal kindness of their employer towards the others. They ought, on the contrary, to have admired his benevolence. So, in respect to the rewards and honors which the disciples had reason to expect, they ought not to regard themselves as occupying such a station, that none could receive favors equal to those which they might receive, nor ought they to cherish a temper un friendly to the elevation of others to honor and bliss. They ought not to fix their hearts on compensation and dignity, nor to indulge an overweening self-esteem, nor to cherish expectations that might not accord with the benevolent intentions of their Lord. They must remember, that while no injustice nor unkindness would be done to them, it
go thy way: I will give unto this last even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
13. No wrong; no injustice. might comport with the signal be14. I will give; I choose to give, I nevolence of their Master to confer am disposed, while I do you no injus- very special favors on others, which tice, to treat with signal and unex- would raise them to an equality in pected kindness these thy fellow-bliss with the apostles. Thus the laborers. last might be treated as the first, and the first as the last. Thus, too, all the Messiah's servants would receive distinguished honor and bliss, and might all, even the lowest of them, be regarded as raised to royal dignity. Let there, then, be no undue self-valuation, and no disposition to think less worthily of others who are engaged, or who may yet be engaged, in the Lord's service; and let there be no disposition to reflect unkindly on the Lord, if he should look with just as much favor upon other laborers as upon his first disciples. || For many be called, but few chosen. Another proverbial saying, applicable to the subject of discourse, and illustrated by the parable. While many are called into my service, few, indeed, of them can be chosen to distinguished honor in my kingdom. In distributing the honors and bliss of the divine kingdom, God will be actuated more by a merciful and benevolent spirit, utterly exceeding the deserts and the expectations of his servants, than by a strict regard to their comparative deserts. He will delight in multiplying his favors to the great company, rather than in elevating some to superior distinction. It ought, indeed, to be sufficient for any person, that he will be allowed to have any share in the exalted, the royal honors and bliss of heaven, without indulging the thought of being elevated to distinction among his fellow-servants. The lowest place in heaven is unspeakably
17 And Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, in the way, and said unto them,
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to too honorable and happy for any man to claim, or to deserve. And if it should please God to bestow equal bliss on some who have not labored so long as others, let this arrangement illustrate, and lead all to admire, the benevolence of God, which, with-stand what their Lord had told them out depressing a single individual, elevates many.
19. Deliver him to the Gentiles; to the Romans, who then had dominion over the Jews. Compare, as parallel passages, Mark 10: 32-34. Luke 18: 31-34. Luke informs us (18: 34) that the disciples did not under
PRACTICAL HINTS. 1. Admire the condescension of God in admitting men to the bliss and dignity of heaven. 2. Beware of thinking very highly of services which you have performed in the cause of Christ.
the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
3. Rejoice in God's kindness to others. That kindness does you no injury, while it does them immense good.
It may here be observed, that the parable in Luke 17: 7-10, is very applicable to the occasion spoken of in this place by Matthew.
To us it may seem almost inconceivable, that they should not have fully comprehended his meaning. But we must consider, that from their childhood their minds had been filled with error respecting the Messiah, and they had been indulging anticipations entirely contrary to what their Master had been repeatedly telling them. They probably thought, that their Master could not intend to be understood just as he seemed to speak, and therefore they did not permit themselves to see the real truth as he endeavored to enforce it on them.
17. Going up to Jerusalem. Jesus was now going up to Jerusalem for the last time; and he wished to prepare the minds of the disciples for
20. The mother of Zebedee's children; James and John; see Matt. 4: 21; also Mark 10: 35. Their mother's name was Salome; for she, who, in Matt. 27: 56, is called the mother of Zebedee's children, is, in Mark 15: 40, called Salome. || Worshipping; bow
the events which were soon to occur.ing down to the earth in token of Hence he took them apart, by themselves, aside from other companies that might be also going to Jerusalem.
20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children, with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my
18. They shall condemn him to death. It was in the power of the Sanhedrim, the highest tribunal among the Jews, to pass sentence of death; but the executing of the sentence belonged, according to the limitation of power introduced by the Romans, to the Roman governor.
21. Grant, &c. Probably the language of our Lord in 19: 28 was not rightly apprehended by the disciples; and they still indulged the thought of great earthly distinction in the administration of the Messiah. The two disciples, James and John, together with their mother, indulged ambitious views in regard to the honors of the Messiah's reign. They perhaps thought, that there was a