By the covenant of grace, God warns us that which is coming and prepares us for the times and seasons, as His will unfolds before us. It is the gracious will of our Father-in-Heaven to reveal to His children the mysteries of the gospel which many, including the wise, do not see or understand. In Matthew 11:25-27, Jesus declared:
“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
During my prayer, the Lord once again, gave me a revelation through Luke 12:35-59. This is an awakening call to us, God’s people, to be prepared for the times to come, and to keep watch. As disciples of Christ, we are expected to be ready for the coming of the Lord.
In Luke 12:35-40, Jesus told His disciples:
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 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. Blessed are those servants 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. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!
But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Here, the Lord charged His disciples, His faithful servants, to get ready and be ready for His return. As servants of the Master, He expected them to set their hearts on the Kingdom of God and to resist the temptations of the world, knowing that their treasure and inheritance are laid up in heaven. To serve the Lord, is to follow and glorify Him; and to honour Him, is to wait on Him (to stay vigilant), expecting His return, being ready to receive Him.
The Lord promises blessings upon His faithful servants who are ready to receive Him on His return, giving them an illustration of His possible return in the second watch (between 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight) or in the third watch (between midnight and 3:00 a.m.). He points out to His servants the uncertainty of the time of His coming, urging them to stay vigilant and to never be caught off guard at all times; warning His servants to be prepared and be ready for His return which will be as unexpected as the coming of a thief at night. God is hoping not to catch us off-guard. In His display of His mercy and patience toward us, he appears to be delaying His return so that more people will have the opportunity to follow him sincerely, and be a ready witness of His glory. Let us remember Second Peter 3:9 which says: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
In vv41-48, Peter asked the Lord: “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord replied:
“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? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 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, 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. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe 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.”
In answering Peter’s question whether the Lord had intended the parable for the disciples or for all, Jesus answered him directly, as shown in Mark 13:37, where the Lord says: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” This clearly confirms that our Lord is speaking this parable to His faithful followers, to the ministers of His Word and to all disciples. In other words, the Lord is speaking to all born-again Christians, who should constantly remain faithful and constantly guard themselves against temptations and pride. God fearing servants and followers of God who are obedient to Him and who persevere to the end, regardless the difficulties and the challenges that they may face, shall be greatly rewarded for their faithfulness in the day of the Lord.
The Lord then turned to His unfaithful and treacherous servant whom He viewed as evil and quarrelsome, requiring him to answer for his behaviour and to face severe punishment. He who looks upon Christ’s return as delayed, often misinterprets His purpose. Instead of encouraging God’s people while being thankful for His patience, and standing as a witness to His goodness and glory; he has become instead, an encouragement to Satan, and opens himself to be used by the enemy.
The Lord points out further that those who have received the light and knowledge of His Word, but make improper uses of the privileges they received and knowingly oppose Him, shall be severely punished, together with the unbelievers (the unfaithful). Jesus has told us how to live until He comes: we must remain watchful; work diligently; and obey His commands. Such attitudes are especially necessary for leaders. Watchful and faithful leaders will be given increased opportunities and responsibilities. The more resources, talents, and understanding we have; the more we are expected to use them effectively for the glory of God and for His kingdom.
Let us respond to the calling of God upon our lives, for as First Peter 2:16 reminds us: “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”