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The Parables of Jesus Part 22
Matthew 24:45-51, Luke 12:42-48 - Be the good steward and prepare for His coming.
““Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 24:45-51 NASB1995
“And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
Luke 12:42-48 NASB1995
The last parable in this devotional series, which has explored all of the parables that are in Matthew, Mark or are shared between those two Gospels and the Gospel of Luke, is found in Matthew 24 and Luke 12. I previously did a series of the Luke-unique parables, so I believe all of the parables of Jesus have been explored.
This parable, once again, is about readiness for the return of Jesus. Exploring the parable in Luke, which is more complex, a master has put a steward in charge of his servants, asking that steward to give rations to those servants at the proper time. When the master returns and finds the steward doing these things, he is blessed and put in charge of all possessions.
But if the steward says in his heart, “my master will be a long time in coming” and then beats the other slaves (male and female) and eats and drinks and gets drunk, the master will come on a day and an hour he won’t know and cut him to pieces and assign him to a place with unbelievers. The slave who knows his master’s will but did not get ready or act will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it (and committed deeds worth flogging) will receive but a few. Jesus then says that “from one who has been given much, much will be required”.
I found a marvelous list of things saying why the return of Jesus is important to us (coincidentally all beginning with “P”) in Precept Austin from Dr. Rod Mattoon, pastor of Lincoln Land Baptist Church and author of “Treasures in Luke”, among other works (links go in general to the Logos bible):
It challenges us to be PURE - Be saved and cleansed by the blood of Christ. Live a godly life.
1 John 1:7—but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
2 Peter 3:14—Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,
It challenges us to be PREPARED
Revelation 3:11—I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
1 John 2:28—Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
Luke 12:40—“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
It challenges us to be PERCEPTIVE - Knowledge of the future should prepare us for today and help us to be aware of what is taking place in the world. World events, in light of the Scriptures, will help us to discern the nearness of His coming.
Titus 2:13—looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
1 Thessalonians 5:4-6—But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
It challenges us to PASS ON the Gospel and PREACH the Word - The George Gallup Poll records that 62% of Americans believe in the Lord's return. The greatest outpouring of missionary and evangelistic efforts since the 1800's have come from denominations that strongly believed in the Rapture. The imminent return of Christ creates a sense of urgency.
2 Timothy 4:1, 2—I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
It challenges us to PARTICIPATE in church and be faithful - You can have a great church when the people are faithful in fulfilling their responsibilities and giving. When people are late, undependable, or uninvolved in the ministry, it hinders the effectiveness of the church in reaching people for Christ and it puts stress on the workers in the church that have to pick up the slack and carry the load.
Hebrews 10:25—not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
It challenges us to be PATIENT
James 5:8—You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
It challenges us to PASTOR our church faithfully
1 Peter 5:2, 4—shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (5:4) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
It challenges us to have PROPER PRIORITIES
Colossians 3:1-2—Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
It challenges us to have PASSION and love for PEOPLE
How many people do you know who just live for the “good times”? I confess to being guilty of this myself quite often; it is like an addictive drug. We live in a world that has so many pleasures and “fun”, with huge industries built around entertaining people at movies or sporting events or mega concerts or casinos or theme parks or on cruise ships or in beautiful national parks; we have cities full of fine restaurants and well-stocked bars dedicated to the gluttons and TGIF crowd. So many people today also live only for themselves, treating other people poorly or even with abuse and filling their lives with “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) and “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) moments and neglecting family. Yup, guilty as charged on that one, too.
So many also live paycheck-to-paycheck, forgetting about saving for even the next bills that are due and blowing their wages in one night at a bar with friends. Most of the people in this country are looking down at the things in front of them instead of looking up to the Lord and to His return. Even many mainstream churches pass on the eschatology, sneering at the more conservative churches who actually preach on such things. Instead, they fill their “church” agendas with political and social concerns, instead of seeking out the lost sheep.
But He will return. It will be unexpected and may come during a time of regained prosperity instead of unrest and hints of war. It may come tonight. It may come in another 1000 years. Given the trajectory of our culture, I wonder how small the remnant of faithful believers would be in that time? Jesus tells us to be Salt and Light, so be valuable as His Disciples and keep His light burning. I believe the most important parables have been around this need to be ready for His return and exploring them in-depth has changed my perspective dramatically.
My next series of devotionals examine the book of Galatians. I will start with an introduction that has a historical perspective about the church of Galatia.
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Lord: Please help me to be pure, be prepared, be perceptive, pass on the Gospel, participate in church, be patient, pastor effectively (through these devotionals), have the proper priorities, and have a passion for people. In Jesus name. Amen.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
The personal testimony of Bruce Hurt for his website Precept Austin is found Here.