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Septuagesima Note from Dr. Gibbs

by ToddPeperkorn ~ January 31st, 2012

[The Gospel for Septuagesima is Matthew 20:1-16.  The following is from Dr. Gibbs’ excellent commentary on Matthew.  He is commenting on the verses immediately preceding Matthew 20. -TAP]

When Jesus responds to Peter, he begins by affirming the unique status of Peter and the Twelve in a remarkable way (19:28), but then he immediately broadens out his teaching to embrace all disciples (“everyone who left …,” 19:29).  For all believers will suffer some loss as they follow Jesus in the way of discipleship in a broken and rebellious world.  Non-disciples are no longer in view when JEsus’ proverb sums up his initial response to Peter (19:30).  If ever the temptation arises to make comparisons between this disciple and that on or between those who have been called into the apostolic ministry and those who have not, then the message of 19:30 will suffice to remove that temptation: many first ones will be last, and many last ones will be first.

All comparisons, therefore, are odious.  All believers will, by grace alone, inherit the same ternal life (cf. 19:16).  Why is this so?  It’s because the reign of heaven in Jesus is so unexpected and shockingly unlike any other reality known in the world.  It’s because the reign of heaven is ron on a principle of reward For Christ’s sake that looks like utter foolishness to sinful human creatures.  It’s because the reign of heaven is like the situation described in the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.

  • Dr. Jeffery A. Gibbs, Matthew 11:2-20:34. Concordia Commentary Series.  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2012.

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