Matthew 24:48-51 (Jews Who Kept Watch; Those Who Grew Impatient)

We have come to understand that the Lord will reward those whom He has appointed over others for keeping alert and faithfully giving them their spiritual food at the proper time, and their reward will be that He puts them in charge of all His spiritual riches that are riches indeed.  In what way was this true of righteous Jewish leaders like Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, or the many priests in Acts 6:7 who understood and faithfully walked in the basic principles of the lesser light of the Old Testament Law and Prophets and were rewarded with the greater light of the New Testament Gospel?  Cf. Mat 13:52 and consider that although such men were not the new wineskins of the apostles into which Jesus first poured the new wine of the gospel, as leaders of the Jews who came to follow Christ they would have continued to be seen as leaders among the Jewish believers.

Should we necessarily suppose that the light of the gospel we now know as Christians represents the entirety of all the treasures of God’s revelation, or is it possible that there are riches untold in the infinitude of God that we are only beginning to understand?  Cf. 1Co 2:9 and consider that even God’s mighty angels did not comprehend the truths of the gospel (1Pe 1:12); is it then unreasonable to suppose that there are still other things that they and we do not yet comprehend?  Is it also possible that Christ’s return will be marked by a light of revelation as much brighter than the gospel we now know as the gospel itself was brighter than the revelation that had already been poured out in the Law and the Prophets, and it is the brightness of that shining that will destroy the lawless one and all evil?  See Pro 4:18, Isa 30:26, Act 26:13, 1Co 13:12, 2Th 2:8 (NAS appearance = KJV brightness = lit. shining upon.)  If then as Christians, and especially as Christian leaders, we do not faithfully walk in and teach the basic principles of God’s kingdom that were exemplified in Christ’s own life—i.e., taking up one’s cross, laying down one’s life to find it, dying to live, becoming great by serving others—should we expect to partake of the even greater riches of the feast He will serve those whom He finds on the alert, and to be entrusted with those greater riches of His kingdom?  Rather, is it even possible that like so many of the Jews, because we are the recipients of an even greater light than they had, if we are unfaithful stewards of the light we have that we too may find ourselves recipients of God’s wrath?  See Lev 26:18,21,23-24,27-28, Heb 2:1-3a.

So then, what does Jesus now say through the parable He has been giving will be the consequence to a minister or religious leader whom He has appointed over others to feed them the spiritual food of His kingdom, but who acts wickedly and is unfaithful in that task?  See Mat 24:48-51.  In what way was this true of the many Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus as their Messiah?  Cf. Mat 23:13,15,16, 23,25,27,29,33.  What in particular does the parable say tempted the heart of the Lord’s servant to act wickedly that relates to the purpose of the parable?  See Mat 24:48; cf. Mat 24:42-44.  Notice also that what the evil slave says in his heart is literally, My Lord lingers, delays, is taking a long time; i.e., it wasn’t as if the slave knew that His master would be a long time in returning, it was that His master didn’t come as expected, but seemed to the slave to tarry.  What example do we find in the Old Testament of one acting unrighteously after growing impatient with a promised coming, and with what consequences?  See 1Sa 10:8, 13:5-14.  Is it significant that it was precisely when Saul had offered the sacrifice—which he was forbidden to do—that Samuel came unexpectedly?  In what sense does the truth of God’s word come upon people unexpectedly, but precisely when they choose in their hearts to disobey the clear commandments of God?  Cf. Deut 28:15.  In what sense could it be said that Jesus Himself, the living and eternal Word of God (Joh 1:1), comes upon the clouds of heaven (Mat 26:64) at such time?  See Isa 55:10-11, Mat 24:35.

What does the parable say the evil slave began to do because he had grown impatient waiting for His Lord to come?  See Mat 24:49.  In what sense might a religious leader or teacher beat his fellow slaves?  See 1Co 8:12 where the same word is translated by the NAS as wound; cf. Act 23:3, 2Co 11:20, 1Pe 5:3, 3Jo 1:9-10; contrast 2Co 10:8, 13:10.  In what sense might he eat and drink with drunkards, even though never imbibing of alcohol and even speaking against such?  Think: although not drunk with spirits that are physically intoxicating, with what spirit may even a supposed servant of the Lord become intoxicated?  See 1Co 2:12, Jam 4:4, 1Jo 2:15; cf. Luk 21:34-36.  In what way were these things true of the Jewish leaders who came to reject Jesus?  In what way are they true of many religious leaders today?

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