{7}          The first will be last [Mk 10:31; Mt 19:30; Lk 13:30; Mt 20:16]

(1)Mk 10:31
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

(2)Mt 19:30
But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

(3)Lk 13:30
Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.

(4)Mt 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.


·               Is Jesus talking about the same thing in the 4 different contexts?

·               What is the meaning of the saying?


·               Sayings (1) and (2): incident of rich man who did not want to sell his property and give the money to the poor.

·               Saying (3): Jesus’ affirmation that men will come from all the earth and sit at the table in the Kingdom of God.

·               Saying (4): parable of the workers in the vineyard.


·               It is a piece of general folk wisdom, e.g. Aesop’s fable of the hare and the tortoise.

·               (1) & (2): Discipleship is purely a gift of God. Those who have made great sacrifices for God are not justified in His sight because of the work and may get a surprise on the day of judgment by seeing others receiving preference over them.

·               A warning against pride in sacrifices such as Peter (Mk 10:28).

·               (3): A surprise to those Jews who think they have the right to the Kingdom. They are surprised to hear of Gentiles taking part in the Messianic banquet, while they themselves are excluded.

·               (4): The parable shows the employer’s persistent concern for the unemployed, and that he would do his best for those who went into the vineyard last. Salvation is entirely a matter of God’s grace. Latecomers into the Kingdom of God will be treated on an equality with those who have come in first. On the day of judgment, there will be full of surprises.


·               Do not be proud about our sacrifice and our service to God. At the same time, do not feel down-hearted if we are not leaders in the church.


{8}          I do not know you [Mt 25:11-12]

Mt 25:11-12
Later the others also came. “Sir! Sir!” they said. “Open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”


·         Are the 10 virgins symbolizing the whole church? Then, does it mean that some church members will be excluded from heaven?


·         Parable in the Olivet Discourse (on the Mount of Olives just east of Jerusalem) (Mt 24‑25) — the discourse which has its climax in the glorious coming of the Son of man

·         It is a saying to his disciples (Mt 24:3).

·         It is in the parable of the 5 wise virgins and 5 foolish virgins (Mt 25:1-12).


·         It describes the torchlight procession in the traditional Jewish wedding at Jesus’ time.

·         Kingdom of heaven is the same as Kingdom of God. Matthew, as a Jew, avoids saying God’s name (like YHWH or Yehwah in OT, read as the Lord). It is the people of God submitting to the sovereign rule of God. The church is part of the Kingdom.

·         The 10 virgins represent the visible Kingdom of God. The foolish virgins are the nominal believers (in name only) in the visible Kingdom.

·         Saving grace is a personal possession and is untransferable.


·         Lesson (Mt 25:13): “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” of the return of the Lord.

·         General application: keep awake, because a time of testing may come without warning. Be ready to resist the temptation; be ready to meet the crisis.