Have you ever noticed the similarity between Matt 20:1-16 and 2 Pet 1:1-11? I didn’t at first.
Of course, Peter was one of the recipients of Jesus’ teaching in Matt 20:1-16 (see Matt 19:27-30). In fact, it is the question Peter posed to Jesus (Matt 19:27) that prompted Jesus’ response in the succeeding verses.
We also know that Peter’s second epistle centers on Jesus’ Second Advent (see 2 Peter 3). I believe that this parable does as well.
Don’t see the similarities? Here are four points of contact between the two passages:
1. Peter (who heard one passage and wrote the other)
2. The word idle (Greek argos): Matt 20:3, 6 & 2 Pet 1:8
3. Calling and election: Matt 20:16 & 2 Pet 1:10
4. Pay: one denarius and a rich entrance to the kingdom are both pay for work done. Note 2 Pet 1:5, “add [epichoregeō] to your faith” and 2 Pet 1:11, “a rich entrance shall be supplied [epichoregeō] to you.”
What Does This Mean?
I think both passages concern the reward of ruling with Christ in the life to come. Believers who work for Christ until He returns (or until they die) will rule. Those whose work is cut short by the Rapture (the end of the work day in Matt 20:1-16) will not be penalized just because they were unable to work as long as those who were born and died earlier in the Church Age.