Jesus talks about heaven and how to inherit eternal life

Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers


During their travels, Jesus told the apostles about the kingdom of heaven.

After he had preached to a crowd, some parents brought their children to Jesus for a blessing. The apostles scolded them and tried to keep the children away.

Jesus stopped the apostles and let the children come to him.

“The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” he said.

Soon after, a rich young man came to Jesus and asked how to gain eternal life.

Jesus told the young man to sell all of his things and give to the poor.

“Then come, follow me,” he said.

The young man became sad and went away because he had many possessions that he did not want to give up.

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” Jesus said.

Peter wanted to know what the apostles would receive, because they had given up everything to follow Jesus.

All who give up their possessions and families to follow him would inherit eternal life in heaven, Jesus replied.

But, he added, “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

To help his friends understand, he told a parable.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard,” Jesus said.

A group of men agreed to do the work for the usual daily wage paid to laborers.

The landowner hired more men at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., saying he would pay them what was just.

At the end of the day, the landowner told his foreman to pay the workers beginning with the last and ending with the first.

Even though they had not worked a full day, the men hired at 5 p.m. were paid the same daily wage as the men who had been hired first and worked more hours.

The men who were hired first expected to make more money than the other workers.

“You have made them equal to us,” they complained.

“What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? … Are you envious because I am generous?” the landowner asked.

“Thus,” Jesus said, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


Matthew 19 & 20


  1. Who will inherit eternal life?
  2. Why were some of the vineyard workers mad?

TRIVIA: Where did Jesus say the apostles would be seated in the new age? (Hint: Matthew 20:28)

Answer: On 12 thrones.


In 1 Kings 21, we can read another story about a vineyard.

A man named Naboth owned a vineyard next to the home of King Ahab, who ruled the northern kingdom of Israel.

Ahab wanted the vineyard and offered to buy it.

“The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral heritage,” Naboth told the king.

Ahab went home angry. He went to bed and wouldn’t eat.

Queen Jezebel, his pagan wife, asked what was wrong. He told her about Naboth’s refusal to sell the vineyard.

“What a king of Israel you are!” she scoffed. “Get up! Eat and be cheerful. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

In the king’s name, Jezebel sent letters to the elders and nobles, instructing them to proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people.

They were to arrange for two scoundrels to accuse Naboth of cursing God and the king. After that, Naboth was to be stoned to death.

The elders and nobles did as they were told, and Naboth was killed.

“Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, because Naboth is not alive, but dead,” Jezebel told Ahab.


St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi was born in Italy in 1182 as the son of a wealthy merchant.

He had a profound conversion experience after going to war for Assisi, being imprisoned and suffering from a very bad illness. Afterward, he gave up his family and riches to live a life of poverty and service because he believed Christ had asked him to do so.

He founded the Order of Friars Minor, or Franciscans, and helped found the Poor Clares and Franciscan Third Order.

In 2013, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took St. Francis’ name when he was elected pope.

St. Francis died in 1226, and we remember him on Oct. 4.


Unscramble the letters in each word and arrange the words to make a quotation from the children’s story.

liwl het ristf stal eb

Answers: will, the, first, last, be

The last will be first.

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