Parable of the Workers

The parable of the workers, a parable about working in Jesus' mission field, points at the book of Matthew itself.

Matthew 20:1-16

1For the kingdom of the skies is like a man who is the master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2He bargained with the laborers for a denarius a day and sent them to his vineyard. Matthew 20:1-23He went out at the 3rd hour and saw others standing idle in the market place. 4He said to them, You also go to the vineyard and I will give you what is right. They went. Matthew 20:3-45He went out again at the 6th and at the 9th hours and did the same. 6Towards the 11th hour he went out and found others standing idle and said to them, Why do you stand idle all day? Matthew 20:5-67They said to him, Because no man has hired us. Matthew 20:7aHe said to them, You also go to the vineyard and you will receive what is right. Matthew 20:7b8When evening came the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wages and begin from the last ones to the 1st. Matthew 20:89Those of the 11th hour came and they each received a denarius. 10When the 1st ones came they expected to receive more, but each one also received a denarius. 11When they received it they murmured against the master of the house 12saying, These last ones have worked only 1 hour and you have made them equal with us who have borne the weight of the day and its heat. Matthew 20:9-1213He answered and said to 1 of them, My friend, I am not doing you an injustice. Did you not bargain with me for a denarius? 14Take what is yours and go. I wish to give to this last one the same as you. 15Do I not have the right to do what I wish with my own or are you jealous because I am generous? Matthew 20:13-15FA 16Even so the last will be 1st and the 1st last. For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 20:16 (Matthew 20:1-16 BRB)


3+6+9+11+11+1 = 41 = Matthew


Matthew has a general theme of going into Jesus' service in the field. There's the elaborate story of sending out the apostles in Matthew 10, which itself points at the book of Matthew, and there's the famous last words of the book where Jesus sends the apostles out again, but into all the world.

16The 11 disciples went to Galilee FA to the mountain where Joshua had appointed them. 17When they saw him they bowed to him, but some of them were doubtful. Matthew 28:16-1718Joshua came up and spoke with them and said to them, All power in the skies and on land has been given to me. Just as my father has sent me I am sending you also. 19Therefore go and disciple all peoples and baptize them in the name of the father and the son and the spirit of the holy. 20Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you. I am with you all the days to the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (Matthew 28:16-20 BRB)

So the idea that the parable of the workers would point at itself, the book of Matthew, makes a lot of sense.