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Matthew 20:1-16 - Sunday Scripture Reflection

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

As we gather for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, we hear the well known parable of the vineyard workers. After hearing the difficult conversation between Jesus and the young man seeking the requirements of discipleship, Jesus' followers begin to question what their reward will be for all that they have left behind in their lives. Jesus characteristically responds to their anxious questions with a parable about God's justice, and how God's abundant grace can often surprise and bewilder us. We will explore how we understand justice and grace in our lives.

Our Scripture passage is found in the Gospel according to Matthew. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Matthew 20:1-16).

For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):

  • Read the assigned Scripture lesson for the week. As you read the lesson, are there any words or phrases that catch your attention? Reflect on this part of the lesson for any special meaning to you.

  • Read the "WHAT..." paragraph in the guide below and reflect on the author's comment that the Gospel lesson is focused on "grace and justice." How do these gifts of God impact your life? Consider the phrase "the first will be last and the last will be first" does not establish a new order, but instead teaches that there will be no order to God's grace - how does this idea provide insight to Jesus' parable?

  • After reading the "WHERE..." paragraph below, reflect on the author's concluding statement that "all are equally near to receiving God's gracious reward." How is this good news in your life, and how might this statement being a piece of challenging news, especially considering that the world often teaches that those who work hard and follow the rules are more deserving that those who don't.

  • After reading the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below, reflect on the author's statement that the parable story is about the generosity of God, but that we must "let go of the stuff of our lives if we are to be joy-filled and grateful people." Do you agree with the author's statement? And, if so, what might be some of the things in your life that you might need to give up in order to fully realize God's generosity?

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