Bible Study
The Gospel of Matthew - Program 22

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

This Bible Study is part of the "The Gospel of Matthew" series. See other Bible Studies which are part of this series

Through God's spirit, everyone can overcome, no matter what becomes a god in the place of the true God. People can humble themselves. They can have the strength to overcome through the spirit of God. Let's turn to verse 27.

Greetings, friends around the world!

Once again, this is Roderick C. Meredith, bringing you this commentary on the book of Matthew. We have been trying to open up the book of Matthew to your understanding and help it be plain and clear to you. I have had the experience of teaching the Gospels for many years, so I hope you can understand and grasp the real meaning and detail of this book much better after this series. Remember that you can view or download the previous programs in this series if you want.

We are near the end of Matthew 19. The last program finished with Christ's statement about how hard it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Matt. 19:26

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Through God's spirit, everyone can overcome, no matter what becomes a god in the place of the true God. People can humble themselves. They can have the strength to overcome through the spirit of God. Let's turn to verse 27.

Matt. 19:27-28

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we [the disciples—we are not rich] have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration [the new age when we are born of God], when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Many of the commentaries and scholars acknowledge that this word "judging" can mean directing or managing or ruling—as it is often used. In the "regeneration" the disciples are going to be managing the affairs of the twelve tribes of Israel—making decisions about their problems and situations. We find in several places in the Old Testament—back in Ezekiel 37, for instance—that King David is going to be given his old job back in the resurrection. He will be king over all twelve tribes of Israel re-gathered again. The Jews and the Ten Lost Tribes will be made one again—one nation under King David. King David will be under Christ. Under King David will be the twelve Apostles, each one ruling one of the twelve tribes of Israel. So we have an organized government pictured in the Kingdom of God—a literal government that is going to be set up on this earth, under Jesus Christ as King of kings.

Matt. 19:29-30

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal [everlasting] life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

Some who were called back then and rejected Jesus are not going to be called in the first resurrection. They will come up and have an opportunity to really understand, later on, if they were blinded. That is another story.

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Let's go on and see what Jesus said.

Matt. 20:1

"For the kingdom of [not in] heaven [the Kingdom of God] is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard."

He had agreed to give each one a denarius—a certain amount of money. Then he went out, at about nine o'clock, and there were still some there and he hired them for the same amount of money. He went out at twelve and he hired some more. He went out at three o'clock in the afternoon and hired some more. Finally, at five o'clock, in the late afternoon, he went out at the eleventh hour—as it points out here—and he came and hired some more.

Matt. 20:9-10

"And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius."

You see, eternal life is the basic reward of all Christians—everlasting life forever and ever and ever as a glorified spirit being—a full son of God, in the very family of God, the Kingdom of God. It is an AWESOME opportunity. This booklet will point out to you your awesome destiny—Your Ultimate Destiny. When you really understand your destiny, there is nothing that can compare with it. But it is not "going to heaven" and it is not floating around heaven all day with nothing to do. So please contact us and request this booklet; it will make this whole subject plain.

Matt. 20:10-13

"…they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' But he [who, of course, is a type of God the Father here] answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius [the basic wage; eternal life in the Kingdom of God]?'"

Other scriptures indicate that eternal life is the basic reward we will all get. But, if you work hard—if you do your part of the very Work of God, if you go above and beyond—you can have a higher degree of responsibility in the Kingdom of God. You may have more work to do, but you will have a perfect body that never gets sick and never gets tired—you will have glorious enthusiasm every day. You will be able to be over five cities or ten cities—or maybe a whole nation or something even beyond that, which I won't try to explain now. Our booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny, explains that if you give your life to God actively and serve Him zealously, you will be rewarded according to your fruits. You will be rewarded according to your works. You are not saved by your works; you are saved by the blood of Christ. Your basic reward is eternal life. The degree of opportunity to serve, the degree of authority in the government of God, can be increased. But Jesus does not cover that here; He just shows that the basic reward is eternal life.

Matt. 20:13-14

"I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 'Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.'"

Some of them no doubt began to get a little bit upset.

Matt. 20:16

"So the last will be first, and the first last."

Some people in ancient Israel never obeyed God. They cursed God, they fought God, they rejected God's servant Moses. They heard the truth first, but they did not obey it. They are not going to be in the first resurrection. Even the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees are not going to be in the first resurrection unless they individually repented, which some of them did. The others will come up later and will have an opportunity, later, to face the issues and to really understand. "So the last will be first"—some people who are converted later—but the first will be last.

Matt. 20:16

"For many are called [God invites many people to His Kingdom. He gets the message out to many, and many understand.], but few [very few, frankly in this age] chosen."

Speaking of those who overcome, God said through Jesus Christ back in Revelation 2:26: "He who overcomes and keeps My works to the end shall rule over the nations." Yes, you are going to have that opportunity if you really overcome. Only the overcomers will be in God's Kingdom. Very few today really understand and really give their lives to God with faith—to step out alone, to go contrary to the mainstream and to be an overcomer with Jesus Christ.

Matt. 20:17-19

Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests [The religious leaders are the ones who usually end up attacking God's servants. It has always been that way, and still is today.] and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, [They hated Him. Men don't love the light, they love the darkness, because their deeds are evil. They don't like to be corrected, they don't like to admit that they are wrong. It really bugs many people to admit they are wrong—even religious leaders.] and deliver Him to the Gentiles [these religious leaders] to mock and to scourge and to crucify. [He knew His form of death ahead of time.] And the third day He will rise again."

As many other scriptures tell us, He was to be resurrected not just on the third day, but at exactly the end of the third day—after three days and three nights, as it says in Matt. 12:40.

Matt. 20:20-21

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."

Of course, this dear woman didn't have a clue. She could not have imagined the glory and the power and the majesty she was asking for her two sons, which would last for a thousand years—in fact, eleven hundred years, probably, and maybe on into eternity—just because she came and asked this.

Matt. 20:22

But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."

He showed them, "Well, you will go through suffering," and they were martyred. Many of Jesus' disciples—in fact, all except John, apparently—were martyred. But He said: "It is not mine to give" this kind of glory. Only from God the Father can we receive that.

Matt. 20:24-25

And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them [If they had been deeply converted, they would have known Jesus was going to work it out, and they wouldn't have become upset. But they were bugged because, in their hearts, they too wanted power. So they were really upset, thinking that these two brothers were trying to get ahead of them.] to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them."

That is the normal way. Remember Benito Mussolini and Hitler back in the second world war? Just lashing out and just crushing those under them. Stalin did that, too, in the Soviet Union, and Mao Tse-Tung in China. Many dictatorial leaders have done that down through time. That is the way they do things. They lord it over them.

Matt. 20:25-26

And those who are great exercise authority over them. ["Do you know who is in charge here?," they are always saying.] "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant."

Let that person try to help and give and serve and build the others. That is the mark of a true leader—someone who is not always concerned about how great he is but trying honestly to do his best to build and teach the others so they can reach their human potential and be in the Kingdom of God.

Matt. 20:27-28

"And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; [Let him be the one that works the hardest and serves the most.] just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Christ helped and served constantly. He sometimes corrected His disciples and others, of course. He sometimes acted "important," as they would look at it, by sitting at the head or teaching. But on the other hand, His whole motive in all of this (which He showed and which they knew if they were honest about it) was to help them—to teach them, to serve them and to build them.

Matt. 20:29-30

Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!"

He was the prophesied Son not of someone else, but of David. David was a type of Christ in a very special way. The Messiah was to be a direct descendant of David. "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" So, they must have gotten the word of His miracles and realized that He was, in fact, the Messiah.

Matt. 20:31-33

Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet [They said, "Shut up, don't bother the Master."]… So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened."

You can picture these two blind men coming up, perhaps trembling, asking, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." Jesus could sense in them the attitude of deep humility and perhaps a fair amount of faith as well. So, Jesus had compassion. He had outflowing concern—and He had that in a remarkable way; He would just ooze love and compassion in a way that most of us don't do today. Our hearts have been hardened—we have been fooled, hurt, and taken advantage of. Human beings today don't normally have that kind of compassion, but Jesus did, and through His spirit all of us can learn to have more compassion, deep outflowing concern, love and mercy for others.

Matt. 20:34

So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes.

Here we see God working through the hands of men—the laying on of hands. Jesus touched their eyes, perhaps put His hand on their heads, touched their eyes, said a prayer, "and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him." They were healed by the Messiah. "Son of David have mercy on us." He healed them.

We know the scripture in Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ "is the same yesterday, today and forever." He is still the healer, He is still alive—if we can learn to have faith and trust in Him and in the God of heaven.

That's all for now. This is Roderick C. Meredith, speaking for the Living Church of God.