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Matthew 20 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

A Story About Vineyard Workers

20 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who owned some land. One morning, he went out very early to hire some people to work in his vineyard. The man agreed to pay the workers one silver coin[a] for working that day. Then he sent them into the vineyard to work. About nine o’clock the man went to the marketplace and saw some other people standing there, doing nothing. So he said to them, ‘If you go and work in my vineyard, I will pay you what your work is worth.’ So they went to work in the vineyard. The man went out again about twelve o’clock and again at three o’clock. Both times he hired people to work in his vineyard. About five o’clock the man went to the marketplace again. He saw others standing there. He asked them, ‘Why did you stand here all day doing nothing?’ They answered, ‘No one gave us a job.’ The man said to them, ‘Then you can go and work in my vineyard.’

“At the end of the day, the owner of the vineyard said to the boss of all the workers, ‘Call the workers and pay them. Start by paying the last people I hired. Then pay all of them, ending with the workers I hired first.’

“The workers who were hired at five o’clock came to get their pay. Each worker received one silver coin. 10 Then the workers who were hired first came to get their pay. They thought they would be paid more than the others. But each one of them also received one silver coin. 11 When they got their silver coin, they complained to the man who owned the land. 12 They said, ‘Those people were hired last and worked only one hour. But you paid them the same as you paid us. And we worked hard all day in the hot sun.’ 13 But the man who owned the vineyard said to one of those workers, ‘Friend, I am being fair to you. You agreed to work for one silver coin. 14 So take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same pay that I gave you. 15 I can do what I want with my own money. Are you jealous because I am good to those people?’

16 “So those who are last now will someday be first. And those who are first now will someday be last.”

Jesus Talks About His Own Death

17 Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His 12 followers were with him. While they were on the way, Jesus gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, 18 “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be turned over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law. They will say that he must die. 19 They will give the Son of Man to the non-Jewish people. They will laugh at him and beat him with whips, and then they will kill him on a cross. But on the third day after his death, he will be raised to life again.”

A Mother Asks Jesus a Favor

20 Then the wife of Zebedee came to Jesus. Her sons were with her. The mother bowed before Jesus and asked him to do something for her.

21 Jesus asked, “What do you want?”

She said, “Promise that one of my sons will sit at your right side in your kingdom. And promise that the other son will sit at your left side.”

22 But Jesus said, “You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you accept the kind of suffering that I must suffer?”[b]

The sons answered, “Yes, we can!”

23 Jesus said to them, “Truly you will suffer the same things that I will suffer. But I cannot choose who will sit at my right side or my left side. Those places belong to those for whom my Father has prepared them.”

24 The other ten followers heard this and were angry with the two brothers.

25 Jesus called all the followers together. He said, “You know that the rulers of the non-Jewish people love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority. 26 But it should not be that way among you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve the rest of you like a servant. 27 If one of you wants to become first, then he must serve the rest of you like a slave. 28 So it is with the Son of Man. The Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him. He came to serve others. The Son of Man came to give his life to save many people.”

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

29 When Jesus and his followers were leaving Jericho, a great many people followed Jesus. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. The blind men heard that Jesus was going by, so they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, please help us!”

31 All the people criticized the blind men. They told them to be quiet. But the blind men shouted more and more, “Lord, Son of David, please help us!”

32 Jesus stopped and said to the blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?”

33 They answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.”

34 Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. He touched their eyes, and at once they were able to see. Then the men followed Jesus.


  1. 20:2 silver coin A Roman denarius. One coin was the average pay for one day’s work.
  2. 20:22 accept . . . suffer Literally, “drink the cup that I must drink.” Jesus used the idea of drinking from a cup to mean accepting the terrible things that would happen to him.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

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