1 "For the kingdom of heaven is similar to a farmer who went out early one morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the workers [on wages] for the usual farm laborer's pay for a day's work, he [then] sent them to work in his vineyard. [Note: The coin mentioned here would amount to $60-$84 in 1994, based on $5-$7 an hour for a twelve hour day. This coin also forms the basis for calculating all other monetary references in the New Testament]. 3 He went out about nine o'clock in the morning and saw other unemployed laborers standing [around] in the open shopping market. 4 He said to them, 'You men also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So, they went to work. 5 [Then] he went out again about noon and again at three o'clock in the afternoon and made the same offer. 6 [Finally] he went out [once more] at about five o'clock in the afternoon and found [still] other men standing around. He said, 'Why have you been standing around all day and not working?'
7 They replied, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You men also may go to work in my vineyard.' 8 And when evening came the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers [in] and pay them their wages, beginning with the last [one hired, then] to the first.'
9 So, when those hired about five o'clock in the afternoon came in, each one received the usual pay for one full day's work. [See note on verse 2]. 10 Then when those who were hired first came [to get paid], they expected to receive more money [than those hired later], but each one received the usual pay for one full day's work also. 11 And when they received it, they complained to the farmer, 12 saying, 'These men [you hired] last have worked only one hour and you gave them wages equal to ours when we carried the heaviest load of the day's work and [put up with] the scorching heat [all day long].'
13 But he answered one of them, saying, 'Friend, I have not done anything wrong to you. Did you not agree with me to accept the usual pay for one full day's work? 14 Take what belongs to you and go on your way. I want to give this last person [hired] the same wages I gave you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my own money? Or, is it that your eye is envious because I choose to be so generous?'
16 So, the [person who seems to be] last will be first [i.e., in importance and blessings], but the [person who seems to be] first will [end up] being last."
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem He took the twelve apostles aside. As they traveled along He said to them, 18 "Now look, we are going up to Jerusalem and [while there] the Son of man will be turned over to the leading priests and experts in the law of Moses. They will condemn Him to death, 19 and turn Him over to the [unconverted] Gentiles, who will mock, whip and crucify Him; then on the third day He will be raised up."
20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons [i.e., James and John] came to Jesus with her sons and, bowing down in reverence before Him, made a request of Him. 21 He responded to her, "What would you like me to do for you?" She answered, "Appoint my two sons to sit at your right side and at your left in your [coming] kingdom."
22 But Jesus replied to her, "You [really] do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup [i.e., of suffering] that I am about to drink?" They [i.e., James, John and their mother. See Mark 10:35ff] answered, "[Yes] we are able to."
23 He said to them, "Indeed you will drink my cup [of suffering]. But it is not my prerogative to appoint who sits at my right side and at my left, but rather these places are for those to whom it has been assigned by my Father." 24 When the other ten apostles heard this, they became very upset with the two brothers. 25 Then Jesus called all the apostles to Him and said, "You are aware that rulers among the [unconverted] Gentiles lord it over their own people and their important men domineer over them [as well]. 26 But it will not be this way among you, for whoever would like to become important among you will become your servant. 27 And whoever would like to be first [in prominence] among you will be your slave. 28 Even so, the Son of man did not come to be served [by others] but to be the servant [of others], and to sacrifice His life as a ransom price to purchase many people [i.e., back from Satan]."
29 As they [i.e., the twelve apostles and Jesus] were leaving Jericho [Note: This was a town about eighteen miles northeast of Jerusalem], a huge crowd followed them. 30 Just then, two blind men sitting along side of the road heard that Jesus was passing by that way. [So], they shouted out, "Lord, take pity on us, son of David." 31 The crowd spoke harshly to them, telling them to be quiet, but they shouted all the more, "Lord, have pity on us, son of David."