Saturday, September 17, 2016

The workers in the vineyard

Many of Jesus' parables were stories that were already familiar to his listeners, but with a twist. Regarding Jesus' parable of the Vineyard owner and the day laborers:

"The Jews already had a parable about a king who had a vineyard, and engaged many laborers to work in it. It went like this: 

"One of the workers was distinguished above the rest by his ability. So the king took him by the hand, and walked up and down in the shade with him until evening. At the end of the day, when the laborers were paid, this one received the same wages as the others, just as if he had worked in the sun the whole day. At this the others murmured, because he who had worked only two hours had received the same as they who had labored the whole day. The king replied: 'Why do you murmur? This man has by his skill earned as much in two hours as you did during the whole day.'

"It will be observed that, with all its similarity of form, the moral of the Jewish parable is in exactly the opposite direction from the teaching of Christ: reward earned by labors, rather than being a gift." 

Paraphrased from Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

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 Bill K. Underwood is a freelance columnist and author of several books, including two novels - The Minotaur Medallion, and the best-selling Resurrection Day. Both are available in paperback here

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