Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honor you with all our mind and love everyone in truth of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:1-3: Those who are wise will shine
Psalm 130:4-6: I wait for the Lord
Luke 13:35-48: Be ready for service
Revelation 3:3: Be alert
For full context, read Luke 12:35-40
Some theologians, especially those dispensationalists, believe that Jesus came to usher in His Kingdom, and perhaps the prophesied Millennial Reign when he was here on earth the first time. It was the rejection, some say, by the nation of Israel at that time that “stopped” or caused God to “change his mind” about starting his kingdom on earth. Regardless of whether or not that is true, we know that Israel did reject Jesus as the Messiah because scripture reveals to us.
If Jesus was not there to begin his kingdom on earth and do the ministry of his kingdom, then who was it that would do that ministry? Jesus' disciples were being taught to do this and eventually understand that it was they and finally us that would do the church or the work of God’s kingdom until Jesus came back for his followers.
We see many places where Jesus instructs His disciples on how to do ministry, and the parable of the Watchful and Faithful Servants is one such form of instruction.
This parable answers perhaps some of their unspoken questions... Those questions arose after they understood that they were being commissioned to be ministers or servants while He was away.
The questions that they were wondering were:
What does God expect of his servants?
What are the characteristics of a faithful and good servant?
What rewards may a proper and good servant expect?
That last question may seem strange, but we always seem to want to know what is in it for us!
Before beginning with what is expected, it is essential to point out some assumptions of a servant.
Followers of Jesus are servants, ministers, and disciples.
We are all called to serve and minister, not just the people we pay to do the ministry for us.
We will all be rewarded; the baseline for that reward is entry into the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life with our Lord and Savior; anything after that is just icing on the cake. In heaven, we can have cake and eat it too!
Ministry for the King and the Kingdom comes from our love and not compulsion.
Jesus uses the imagery of a wedding banquet as one that calls our attention to the future Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Revelations) and the cultural and essential norms of the day.
The wedding banquet could be one meal and last a few hours to a multi-meal feast that lasts for days. Jesus is pointing out that we don’t know when the Master is returning… Both the absolute master and the Master will return for us one day.
Because neither the servants nor the master of the house truly knows how long he would be gone at the wedding, it would be tempting for the servants to neglect their regular duties and responsibilities and be lazy...
However, because no one knew when the master would return, it was a dangerous game... because he could return at any time and catch the “faithless” lazy servant sleeping...
Sleeping on the job may not seem that bad, but Jesus points out that the servant thinking the Master wasn’t going to be back for a while, would leave the gate unattended and not be dressed for work. On the other hand, a faithful servant would not alter his dress, vigilance, work, or priorities due to the uncertainties and delays that the wedding feast would cause; he would remain diligent until the master returned... no matter what! Jesus taught then that faithful servant does what they are supposed to do regardless of their master’s absence or delay in producing.
The faithful servants will be rewarded for their faithfulness when the master returns! Jesus continues with the wedding feast imagery and says in essence that the master will return from one party, and finding the servants faithful will sit them down at the table and serve them up a party!
This imagery is in tune with the imagery of Jesus taking us to Heaven upon His return... Jesus tells us that there is no reason not to be faithful...there may be excuses and legitimate grounds not to guard the gate or take care of the house... but a faithful servant is faithful...regardless of circumstances.
In the second part of the story, Jesus uses the idea of a homeowner. The servant’s responsibilities were to stand guard and protect the house. If the homeowner knew ahead of time that someone would rob him, he would hire more security. So by using this parable, Jesus shows that we have a responsibility to safeguard what we have been entrusted with. We are responsible for being good stewards and protecting those that need protecting... Of course, we know that the enemy or the thief that would come to attack is the devil... It is not just the responsibility of paid ministers to protect those around us... it is every servant's responsibility!
Question: What is the fate of the unfaithful and lazy servants?
The Takeaway: We know that the Lord is absent from us at this moment and that He will return, but we don’t know when He will return; therefore, since we have been entrusted with responsibilities, we as faithful servants need to remain vigilant and faithful until he returns.
God, we thank you that we are no longer condemned because we belong to Jesus the Christ.
We rejoice that we who belong to him have received the power of your Holy Spirit of life and the freedom that your Spirit brings.
We are thankful that when we do not know what to pray, the Spirit himself intercedes for us according to the will of God. God is for us; no one can stand against us. Amen.