Truth Taught-We are called to be active and loyal to King Jesus, being wise and faithful in carrying out the tasks assigned to us joyfully awaiting His coming.
As we look today at the first of three parables that Jesus tells concerning the mindset we must have while we wait for His coming.
Contained within these parables are elements of an unexpected coming, The fact that the reader is warned to be ready for the unexpected coming, the ones who are ready will experience joy the ones not ready will experience great judgement, and we are shown the dangerous tendency we have of falling asleep or not keeping vigilant because there is a delay in His coming.
It should also be noted that the disciples were to be the stewards of the Master’s house while He was away. This dynamic has been true down through the centuries. Once the disciples died, this role was passed down to others and now we find that we have the role of being good stewards over the Master’s house until He returns.
Matthew 24:45–51 (ESV)
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1. The Work of the Faithful and Wise
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?
What should Christians be doing while we wait on our Lord’s coming?
In our Lord’s first parable concerning His coming or His Parousia He tells His disciples that a mark of a faithful and wise steward is that while the master is away, the faithful and wise are carrying on their Master’s affairs. They are left in charge of the Master’s house while He is away.
In a modern workplace context, the steward would be equivalent to a manager with a duty to the owners while managing other workers. The owner’s interests are met only when the workers’ needs are met. The manager has responsibilities to both those above and below him in authority. Jesus says that it is the servant leader’s duty to look to the needs of those under him as well as those above him. He cannot excuse himself for mistreating those under his authority by claiming it is somehow for the benefit of his superiors. He depicts this reality dramatically in the punishment meted out to the worker who cares only for his own interests
The faithful and wise steward had to care for his Master’s interests (His Superior) and also care for the workers who were under him (His Inferiors). Here, the steward was responsible to give the workers their pay, their room and board. His role was to care for those under him so that they could do the work their Master required.
The steward had to be concerned with his Master’s interests, his Master’s property, and his Master’s employees and/or slaves.
The emphasis and point here that Jesus makes is that while the Master is away the steward should not have the attitude that he is in charge and the most important in the house now because the Master is away, but seek to care for all the Master’s affairs as if the Master were still there. The thrust is to be busy doing the everyday things that need done.
While Jesus is away, His people should seek to be servant leaders. Those with leadership roles within the Church for example should not think of themselves as important but work as if Jesus is present and not away. We should all be caring for one another in the everyday affairs in the life of the Church.
Mark 10:42–45 (ESV)
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
So, according to Jesus, what should we be doing while we wait for His coming? What is it that will keep us ready for His coming? Be steady and consistent in serving others within the body. Like the steward in Jesus’ parable who was under the Master’s authority and given the task to care for the other workers. As we care for others, they are helped in their service to Christ. Your service to them helps their service to Christ and others.
I am very thankful that so many of you truly love and care for each other. I’m thankful that you are involved in each other’s cares and struggles. It is a blessing to watch the behind the scene things that you do and it’s also a blessing that I don’t even know everything you do.
This verse serves us also as a challenge, doesn’t it? If you’re not serving others here then the challenge is to begin immediately. This is Jesus’ first mark of a faithful and wise follower. If you’re not serving then there is the call to repent of that sin and ask God to show you where you can serve.
2. The Beatitude of the Faithful and Wise
46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
Here Jesus gives us another installment of His beatitudes. Remember in Chapter 5 when He taught us those amazing blessing that belong to His people. Here, He gives us another.
The word translated as BLESSED is the Greek word Makarios. Greek scholars teach us that markarisms are essentially commendations, congratulations, statements to the effect that a person is in a very good situation, sometimes even expressions of envy.
If you are serving as a Christian you are ready for Jesus’ coming and right now, God considers you to be greatly blessed. According to Jesus you are in a position to receive all the good that God has for you.
The servant who is actively engaged in serving the followers of Christ are blessed by God right now and are preparing to meet Jesus when He comes again.
Not only is this person presently blessed and not only is this person prepared for Jesus’ Parousia but in that day, he will be given even a greater title and position. Jesus will give us the capacity for even greater blessings.
In a fallen world we consider that working hard deserves in return rest or a vacation. However, in the world to come where work/service to the King is an amazing blessing, we will be given more responsibilities leading to more blessings.
In the New Heavens and New Earth, when sin is removed completely our greatest blessing will be serving the King not resting but serving.
3. The Deeds and Mindset of the Wicked
48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,
Here the Master of the house is delayed in His return. The word, delayed is from the Greek word chronizo which literally means a very long absence. This word is used a second time by Jesus in the Parable of the Ten Virgins where He describes the delay of the Bridegroom.
Here the point is that because there is a long delay in the coming of the Master of the house, the wicked servant sees this as an opportunity to come out ahead. Rather than caring for the servants, he begins to abuse them. He does not concern himself with the Master’s affairs but seeks to treat himself, to eat drink and be merry. The period of absence provides the wicked steward with the opportunity to indulge his selfish irresponsibility at the expense of his workers.
The wicked servant only thinks about the present, not of the eventual guaranteed end when his Master returns.
He thinks His Master is not returning any time soon so he can live for himself and not care for his Master’s affairs.
Notice how the delay in returning provides the faithful and wise with more opportunity to serve his Master, while the delay provides the wicked servant time to spend on himself while not caring at all for the Master’s business. The faithful stores up treasure in heaven while the wicked stores up wrath.
4. The Time of the Parousia is Unknown
50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Suddenly, and without warning the Master arrives. Just as swiftly as the Master returned judgement was carried out.
Neither steward knew when the Master would come. For the faithful and wise steward it did not matter. He was ready whenever his Master came. It was only the irresponsible who needed to worry about the Master’s coming but the irony of it all is he was not concerned with his Master’s coming.
Jesus’ repetition of
50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know
Reminds us of verse 36 from last time.
Matthew 24:36 (ESV)
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
It’s with this repetition, Jesus connects His parable with His previous teaching about His Parousia. He is coming and no one knows when it will be. So, like the faithful and wise steward, we too must be ready.
What of the wicked? What will be the final punishment of those who concern themselves with their pleasure at the expense of the Master’s affairs? What will be the final destination of those who are not saved and those who are not serving others?
51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
To the shock of the reader, Jesus tells us that the wicked will endure a very violent and brutal execution and their eternal souls will be cast into the place (hell itself) where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
That place of eternal punishment. That place of great despair, never ending punishment and utterly hopelessness. Weeping over lost opportunity and gnashing of teeth over the intense pain, suffering and anger. This will go on with no end… forever.
We cannot fathom the intense pain, sadness, anger, and hopelessness. We cannot fathom eternity either.
If you are a believer, remain active and loyal to Christ and you will be ready whenever He returns.
We are called to be active and loyal to King Jesus, being wise and faithful in carrying out the tasks assigned to us joyfully awaiting His coming.
Matthew by RT France
Matthew by William Hendriksen