Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 20” pp. 498-516.
Morris suggests that in Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew continues with the warnings against greed found in chapter 19. “Peter and the rest of the Twelve have indeed left all for Christ, but they must not think that their priority in time gives them an overwhelming advantage” (Morris 1992, 498-499). In the parable, the landowner seeks out some day laborers. It is a very typical scenario (Morris 1992, 499). At different times in the day the owner secured more laborers without a specific monetary agreement (Morris 1992, 500). When the householder paid a full day’s wage to all, starting with the last, those who worked more for the same pay were unsatisfied (Morris 1992, 502). The householder reminds a worker that he had done what was agreed upon then chose to be generous to some. No agreement was violated (Morris 1992, 503). Morris considers various views of the interpretation and concludes it is related to God showing grace to all, including those who do not earn anything (Morris 1992, 504).
In Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus makes his fourth prediction of his death (Morris 1992, 506). He takes his disciples apart privately to do this, though as Morris says there were certainly many people going up to Jerusalem for the Passover (Morris 1992, 506). Morris observes that the flogging Jesus predicted was not entirely routine before an execution (Morris 1992, 507).
In verses 20-28 the mother of James and John asks for special authority in the kingdom for her sons. This, Morris says, shows an ongoing and fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus’ work (Morris 1992, 508). In a footnote Morris gives some data suggesting that she was a sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother (Morris 1992, 508-509 footnote). She approached reverently and made her request. Jesus’ answer is addressed to the sons. They are not asking rightly. Jesus’ kingdom is one of laying down the life even to death (Morris 1992, 510). Jesus contrasts this sharply with the nations and their earthly rulers (Morris 1992, 511).
In verses 29-34 Matthew describes the healing of two blind men from Jericho. Morris tries to harmonize this with other accounts (Morris 1992, 513) but is not conclusive. The blind men heard about Jesus, took this as their opportunity for healing, and began shouting for him (Morris 1992, 514). Despite the objections of the crowd, they got Jesus’ attention and he healed them by touching their eyes (Morris 1992, 515).