Lectionary Calendar
Monday, April 22nd, 2024
the Fourth Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 20

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

The kingdom of heaven ; its comparative duties and rewards, as proclaimed in the judgment-day and inherited in heaven. See Matthew 3:2

Verse 2

A penny ; about fourteen cents. The proper compensation, at that time, for a day’s labor.

Verse 3

Third hour ; nine o’clock in the morning.

Verse 4

Till men begin to labor for Christ, they are, as to the great business of life, idle. They are doing nothing which will in the end promote their good.

Verse 5

Sixth and ninth hour ; noon and three o’clock in the afternoon.

Verse 6

Eleventh hour ; five o’clock in the afternoon.

Verse 13

No wrong ; he gave them all that he agreed to, and all that justice and equity required.

Verse 15

Lawful ; right, proper.

What I will ; what I see to be best.

Evil ; envious of others who receive as a free gift more than they can claim as their due. In the bestowment of his unmerited favors, Christ has a perfect right to do as he sees best. His doing this injures no one, and promotes the good of many. If any complain, they complain of infinite goodness under the guidance of infinite wisdom, and thus show that they are evil.

Verse 16

First ; in privileges, and in their own estimation.

Last ; in the reception of the gifts of distinguishing grace. God distinguishes men by his favors as he sees best; not without wise and good reasons, but those reasons cannot always be seen by men. The above-mentioned truths were illustrated by the time of calling into his kingdom the Jews and the Gentiles, and his treatment of them; and they are continually illustrated in the dispensations of his providence and grace towards nations and families as well as individuals.

Called ; to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Chosen ; to enjoy its highest gracious benefits. Many who in this world are first in privileges, and are in many respects above others, will, in the world to come, be far below them.

Verse 18

Betrayed ; Matthew 26:49 .

Chief priests-scribes ; ecclesiastical rulers. Matthew 26:47 .

Verse 19

Gentiles ; the Romans, who were then the civil rulers of Judea, and who alone had authority to put an accused person to death.

Verse 20

Zebedee’s children ; James and John.

Verse 21

Sit-on thy right hand ; be thy chief officers.

In thy kingdom ; thinking it would be an earthly kingdom. Parents often manifest much pride and ignorance in seeking worldly distinctions for their children, and Christ is wise and good in denying them those distinctions; for the attainment of them might for ever exclude them from true greatness and honor in his heavenly kingdom.

Verse 22

Ye know not ; they did not understand the nature of his kingdom, and what they must do and suffer to be first in it.

The cup-the baptism ; the cup is that of suffering; Matthew 26:39 , etc. The baptism is his bloody death. The two together denote all the sufferings, inward and outward, through which our Lord’s path to glory lay.

We are able ; in this they knew not what they said.

Verse 23

Ye shall drink ; ye shall follow me in my sufferings.

Not mine to give ; except to those for whom it is prepared. Ambition in the disciples of Christ, and thirst for worldly glory, liken them to men of the world, not to Jesus Christ, and are evidence that disappointments and sufferings await them.

Verse 24

The ten ; the other apostles were offended that some should seek to be placed above the rest.

Verse 26

No be so ; in the kingdom of Christ: none of his ministers were to exercise civil power or authority over the rest.

Great among you ; to be truly great in his kingdom one must minister, as he has opportunity and ability, to the wants of others. Humility, and a disposition to serve others in the supply of their wants and the promotion of their highest good, are marks of true greatness in the kingdom of Christ, and especially among his ministers.

Verse 27

Chief ; first in true spiritual worth.

Your servant ; most active in administering to the good of his fellow-disciples.

Verse 28

No to be ministered unto ; his great object was, not to be assisted by others, but to assist them, and give his life for their redemption.

Verse 29

Jericho ; a city about eight miles west of the Jordan, and twenty north-east of Jerusalem.

Verse 31

Rebuked them ; commanded them to be silent.

Cried the more ; more loudly and earnestly, lest they should fail of the blessing. Christ kindly regards the sufferings of the distressed, and is pleased when they apply to him for help, believing that he is able and willing to bestow it. None who feel their need of his mercy, and desire to receive it, need fail of his grace.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 20". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/matthew-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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