35 “Stay dressed for action[f] and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants[g] whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he[h] would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant[i] whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming’, and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant 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 put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant whoknew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Jesus has a body of teaching that he comes back to regularly. In the gospel of Matthew it is arranged neatly into five major sermons (discourses). In Luke the sermons are more often mini-sermons which are responses to circumstances which arrive. Jesus’ thinking is consistent, he has a worldview that informs all that he does. He models for us a unified perspective of thinking which communicates consistent truth at every opportunity. We should seek to think like him. So when he thinks about the end times in Mathew 24,25 and in Luke 12 we see the same central message. He wants his followers to live lives which are ready for Jesus’ return.
Because Jesus could be coming back at any moment, we should have an attitude of service. The service we perform is for those around us, but it is ultimately with thought of our Master Jesus and His Father. The kind of services we perform are modeled by Jesus and he lives out that service upon his return. Notice the details are few because this is a mind set rather than a list. Many people whose primary objective is to make sure that they are alright on the day of judgment want a list which they can read through and execute. In so doing they show that they do not have the mind of Christ. The Christian looks for opportunity to serve because they have cultivated an attitude of service. They are ready every hour of every day because they are mindful of the Master and desire to serve him rather than focus on saving themselves.
Servants who wield power in the church and build petty kingdoms will be judged. In fact there are those who will use the church for power without actually being a servant of Jesus. These false servants will be sliced to pieces. This literal dismemberment promised by Jesus seems odd to contemporary views of Jesus. However, the God of grace brings relief to the righteous but also brings just punishment to the wicked. In our permissive society we have lost sight of our lack of holiness, so dismemberment for any crime seems abhorrent. However, in front of the purity and the holiness of God crimes are punished with a measure we can’t imagine. They are also gradated in accordance with the seriousness of the offence.
The question for us is, are we living a life of service in light of the Second Coming? Will we be found going about God’s work when Jesus comes back? Will we be ready? This does not mean that everyone needs to drop their day job and take up life in the church. It means that we are mindful of God and service to him in our daily lives. If we sell cars, do we sell cars in such a way that serves others to the glory of God? If we sell houses, are we mindful of God’s love for both the buyer and the seller? If we run a home, do our children know that our service of them is primarily stewardship for God?
May I be found ready on the day of your return. May I not need fear or guilt as a motive. May I just cultivate a mind that is focused on you and lives out love and service.
- How should Jesus’ followers be dressed?
- How does this passage relate to Matthew 24 and 25?
- How should a disciple live in light of Jesus’ return?
- Why do you serve others?
- What will happen to the unsaved who are ruining people in some churches?