Matthew 20:16
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"So the last shall be first, and the first last."

King James Bible
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Darby Bible Translation
Thus shall the last be first, and the first last; for many are called ones, but few chosen ones.

World English Bible
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Young's Literal Translation
So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, and few chosen.'

Matthew 20:16 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

So the last shall be first ... - This is the moral or scope of the parable. "To teach this it was spoken." Many that, in the order of time, are brought last into the kingdom, shall be first in the rewards. Higher proportionate rewards shall be given to them than to others. "To all justice shall be done." To all to whom the rewards of heaven are promised they shall be given. Nothing shall be withheld that was promised. If, among this number who are called into the kingdom, I choose to raise some to stations of distinguished usefulness, and to confer on them special talents and higher rewards, I injure no other one. They shall enter heaven, as was promised. If, amid the multitude of Christians, I choose to signalize such men as Paul, and Martyn, and Brainerd, and Spencer, and Summerfield - to appoint some of them to short labor but to wide usefulness, and raise them to signal rewards, I injure not the great multitude of others who live long lives less useful and less rewarded. All shall reach heaven, and all shall receive what I promise to the faithful.

Many be called, but few chosen - The meaning of this, in this connection, I take to be simply this: "Many are called into my kingdom; they come and labor as I command them; many of them are comparatively unknown and obscure; yet they are real Christians, and shall all receive the proper reward. A few I have chosen for higher stations in the church. I have endowed them with apostolic gifts or with superior talents, and suited them for wider usefulness. They may not be as long in the vineyard as others; their race may be sooner run; but I have chosen to honor them in this manner, and I have a right to do it. I injure no one, and have a right to do what I will with my own." Thus explained, this parable has no reference to the call of the Gentiles, nor to the call of aged sinners, nor to the call of sinners out of the church at all. It is simply designed to teach that in the church, among the multitudes who will be saved, Christ makes a difference. He makes some more useful than others, without regard to the time which they serve, and he will reward them accordingly. The parable teaches one truth, and but one; and where Jesus has explained it, we have no right to add to it, and say that it teaches anything else. It adds to the reason for this interpretation, that Christ was conversing about the rewards that should be given to his followers, and not about the numbers that should be called, or about the doctrine of election. See Matthew 19:27-29.

Matthew 20:16 Parallel Commentaries

The Servant-Lord and his Servants
'Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.'--MATT. xx. 28. It seems at first sight strangely unsympathetic and irrelevant that the ambitious request of James and John and their foolish mother, that they should sit at Christ's right hand and His left in His kingdom, should have been occasioned by, and have followed immediately upon, our Lord's solemn and pathetic announcement of His sufferings. But the connection is not difficult to trace. The disciples believed that,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Delivered on the Lord's Day, on that which is Written in the Gospel, Matt. xx. 1, "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like unto a Man That
1. Ye have heard out of the Holy Gospel a parable well suited to the present season, concerning the labourers in the vineyard. For now is the time of the material [2841] vintage. Now there is also a spiritual vintage, wherein God rejoiceth in the fruit of His vineyard. For we cultivate God, and God cultivateth us. [2842] But we do not so cultivate God as to make Him any better thereby. For our cultivation is the labour of the heart, not of the hands. [2843] He cultivateth us as the husbandman doth
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Ci. Foretelling his Passion. Rebuking Ambition.
(Peræa, or Judæa, Near the Jordan.) ^A Matt. XX. 17-28; ^B Mark X. 32-45; ^C Luke XVIII. 31-34. ^b 32 And they were on the way, going up to Jerusalem [Dean Mansel sees in these words an evidence that Jesus had just crossed the Jordan and was beginning the actual ascent up to Jerusalem. If so, he was in Judæa. But such a construction strains the language. Jesus had been going up to Jerusalem ever since he started in Galilee, and he may now have still be in Peræa. The parable
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cii. Bartimæus and his Companion Healed.
(at Jericho.) ^A Matt. XX. 29-34; ^B Mark X. 46-52; ^C Luke XVIII. 35-43. ^c 35 And it came to pass, as he drew nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. [Jesus came from the Jordan, and was entering Jericho by its eastern gate. As the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimæus asked its meaning and learned of the presence of Jesus. Jesus on this
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Cross References
Matthew 19:30
"But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

Mark 10:31
"But many who are first will be last, and the last, first."

Luke 13:30
"And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last."

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