The previous parables were given in order to challenge the listener or reader who will be alive at the end of the tribulation to alertness and watchfulness in light of the “significant” events which will precede the imminent return of Christ. But I think this parable takes it one step further.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant ?” What should the proper response to the signs which will be given at the end of the age?
He is the one who is faithful while the master is away. He carries out his responsibilities. He will not only be ready when the master returns, he will also be rewarded.
Everyone knows the tendency to slack off when the boss is gone. That is what the evil slave does.
His attitude - It doesn’t matter how I live as long as the master is away. He is rationalizing. 2Pe 3 says,
“the world has remained unchanged since the beginning.”
His actions - cruelty and indulgence...In modern language, he is abusive and self destructive.
His judgment (50-51) is unexpected: “on a day when he does not expect and at an hour which he does not know” and it is final: “assign him to a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.” Matt uses this phrase 5 times and always as a reference to hell. This is not the punishment for a disobedient believer.
Although the return of the Lord is certain as to its event and unknown as to its time, one should be faithful and sensible in light of the rewards and judgments which will be given at that time.
Since wisdom and faithfulness are the demonstration of one’s faith, the return of Christ will involve a judgment in which those who have demonstrated such faith will enter and assume greater responsibilities in the kingdom, while those who do not will be excluded from the kingdom to experience the wrath of Christ along with the hypocrites.
While the last three parables emphasized the need for faith (readiness) for entering the kingdom, this parable also shows that there will be rewards for faithfulness (responsibility) in the tribulation.