The TL:DR Bible: Matthew 20-21

Chapter 20:

The kingdom of heaven is like a guy who goes and hires day laborers. He offers to pay them a day’s wage. Then he goes and hires more people throughout the day offering them a day’s wage too, until he hires laborers an hour before quitting time and paying them the same wage. The guys who were hired first think this is unfair, but the landowner is a stickler for a contract and tells them to shut up and deal with it.

Then Jesus tells his disciples that he’s going to be arrested, killed, and resurrected.

Then James’ and John’s mom asks that her sons be given the number two and number three slots in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus asks them if they can handle the same treatment that Jesus will undergo and they say “yes”. Jesus promises them that they will face the same treatment as he, but that the number two and three positions in the kingdom are up to God to fill.

The rest of the disciples get angry at James and John, and Jesus tells them that his kingdom isn’t going to be like the normal governments of this world where the powerful lord it over the weak, but his authorities will be servants to the people.

Lastly, Jesus heals two blind men as they were leaving Jericho.


Chapter 21:

The author of Matthew takes prophesy literally instead of poetically, and has Jesus enter Jerusalem not just sitting on a donkey, but somehow straddling both a donkey and its foal.

Everyone welcomes Jesus as the son of David along the way into Jerusalem and folks in the city are curious about this Galilean teacher.

Jesus causes an incident in the Temple by overturning tables and vendor’s carts and driving them out, demanding that the temple be a house of prayer instead of a den of thieves. Presumably he felt that the Sadducees were fleecing Jewish pilgrims on coin exchanges and animal purchases. The Romans somehow don’t arrest him for causing a disturbance and he stays around the Temple healing people as children proclaim him the Messiah. When the Pharisees object, Jesus tells them to get bent and leaves.

God hates figs.

The priests challenge Jesus demanding to know by what authority he disrupts the Temple cult. Jesus replies that he’ll tell them if they tell him whether John’s baptism was of God or men. The priests realize they can’t answer without looking foolish or causing a disturbance, so they leave Jesus alone.

Jesus tells a story that one’s actions count more with God than one’s words.

Then he tells a story of a landowner who creates a vineyard and gives it over to renters to take care of it. When it’s time to collect the rent, the man sends servants to get it from them. They refuse to pay and abuse and kill the servants. So the man sends more. They do the same to them. Then the man decides to send his son, so they kill him. Thus the landowner will come and destroy the renters and give the vineyard to more worthy men.

The Pharisees and the priests want to kill him, but are worried about creating a disturbance.




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