7. The Faithful Servants
This follows the parable of the rich fool (12:13-21) in which the rich man had an unexpected death and faced the judgment of God.
Jesus has just told them not to be anxious (12:22-34) for earthly things but to seek the kingdom.
The parable is followed by a section dealing with the certainty of coming judgment (12:49-59)
What should characterize a steward in light of the certainty of coming accountability?
The Progression - Ideological
The need for Readiness
Be like men waiting
Dressed, lamps burning
Be like slaves who are alert
The picture here is of a master who is returning from a trip. What is the tendency of workers when the boss is away? To slack off. Those that slack off invariably get caught sleeping when the boss shows up. What do these servants who are alert get? - they get to eat at the banquet - This is kingdom imagery. Notice that the master will serve the servants at the banquet.
Be like the head of the house who was awake
Be ready for the Lord will come when you do not expect
Peter’s question: Lord are you talking to us?
I don’t think Jesus has been talking to the disciples up to this point. He has been talking to the multitudes. The issue has been salvation up to this point. But now he turns to the 12 and deals with the issue of faithfulness. Notice the “Blessed” in vs. 37 compared to the “Blessed” in vs. 43. The one in vs. 43 emphasizes “doing.”
The Need for Wisdom and Faithfulness (42-48)
I take it that Wisdom is a symbol for faith and is a warning to unbelievers. The warning of Faithfulness is for believers of whom the faithful will be rewarded and the unfaithful will not.
Three levels of judgment - cutting into pieces, many lashes, few lashes.
There are levels of reward - given much and given more.
The one who is ready and wise (faith) and doing (faithfulness) that faithfulness is rewarded. If I have neither readiness nor activity, it is a sign of deserved judgment.
In the context, who would be more liable for stricter judgment? The Pharisees who had been given much -
How can we be talking about master slave/servant relationships and not necessarily be talking about the saved? Father with two sons and one of the sons represents tax collectors who respond correctly and religious leaders who don’t. So even with a father/son imagery you are not necessarily dealing with two believers. Don’t take the cultural paradigm and try to make it equivalent to the Christian imagery.
There is a need for faith and faithfulness in light of the coming judgment and rewards to be given when Christ returns.
The Relation of the Parable to the Kingdom Program of God
Wedding banquets last a long time - days on end. You didn’t know when they were coming back.
- Though the event is certain the timing of the Lord’s return is not known.
- There is a need to be ready and faithful in light of the Lord’s return.
- Faithfulness will be proportionately rewarded.
- Lack of faithfulness may indicate lack of faith, making one susceptible to judgment.
- Judgment as well as rewards are proportionate. “It will be more tolerant for Sodom and Gomorrah than for this generation.” Mat 11:23