Palm Sunday helps us see that the story isn’t about greatness or even weakness, but of facing an uncertain future through the grace of God.
Palm Sunday and the glory of God
Palm Sunday | Matthew 21:1-17
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples a parable. One that we could use right about now.
Jesus says that “the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.” The landowner offers a full wage for a day’s labor and brings them into the vineyard to work. He goes out again at 9:00 and finds more laborers looking for work. So he sends them in to work alongside the others.
The landowner goes out again at noon and 3:00 and 5:00 and keeps finding more people looking for work.
Now, we usually get caught up with this parable’s ending. When the day is done, the landowner pays all the laborers in the opposite order: the last ones in are the first ones out. And he gives them all the same pay: the day’s wage.
This parable messes with our sense of fairness and pride. Even though the laborers agreed to a wage that would give them enough, they wanted to tie that to their work…AND their good fortune. We often treat our means of survival as a reward. Something not only earned, but given as a bonus.
The landowner takes a different approach. He keeps looking for laborers. And when he finds them, he marvels at the fact that they are jobless. By the end, we realize what the landowner is actually thinking: Why isn’t anyone else helping these people survive?
The wage isn’t earned or tied to the fortune of being in the right place at the right time; the providence of their birth. The landowner pays them all, every last one of them, enough to live: a living wage…
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