Matthew 24:51 (Curses For Not Keeping Watch)

In contrast to the faithful and sensible slave who was blessed by the master of the house for keeping watch and giving the other slaves in the household their portion of spiritual food at the proper time, what two things does Jesus say He will do to the unfaithful and foolish slave who grew lax, abused his authority, and was filled with the spirit of the world rather than the Holy Spirit of God?  See Mat 24:51.  What does it mean that He will “cut him in pieces”?  Notice that the Greek word means literally that He will “cut him in two” (NET), or “cut him asunder” (KJV).  What is the significance of being “cut asunder”?  See Gen 15:7-10,17-18, Jer 34:8-11,17-20 and note that when a covenant was made the sacrifice that was made was cut in two pieces signifying the curses for violating the terms of the covenant; in passing between the two pieces the parties of the covenant were saying in effect “may such be done to me if I do not abide by the terms of the covenant”.  What does this remind us about the responsibilities of the covenant relationship we enter into with the Lord to become members of His household, and as with every covenant, the curses that will consume us if we fail to obey its terms?  Cf. 1Co 11:23-30.

In this context, what is the significance that Jesus says He will “assign him a place with the hypocrites”?  Think: as a covenant is the most solemn agreement one can enter into as confirmation that he will do as he has promised, what is the most egregious form of hypocrisy one could engage in?  Is it not to enter into a covenant, especially a covenant with God, but only in pretense?  What is the particular significance of Jesus’ words in regard to the Jewish religious leaders whom Jesus had just denounced before forsaking the temple and predicting its destruction?  Cf. Mat 23:13,14,15,23,25,27,29,33.  Should religious leaders today who are not faithful to the covenant they enter into with the Lord to faithfully feed the Lord’s flock but hypocritically love the world while pretending to serve Him—shall they suppose it will turn out any better for them than it did for the scribes and the Pharisees?  Or considering that they are the recipients of an even greater light, might it turn out even worse?  Cf. Heb 2:1-3.

On the separate occasion recorded in Luke that Jesus also spoke this parable, rather than assigning the evil slave a place with the hypocrites, with whom did Jesus say He would assign him a place?  See Luk 12:46.  If such will be assigned a place with the unbelievers, could he have been an unbeliever?  What then must he have been considered by the Lord before being assigned to that place?  What does this parable then teach us about the false notions of eternal security held by many, that it is impossible for a believer to be appointed a place with the unbelievers and hypocrites by the Lord, regardless of his sin?  Indeed, is not the very point of Jesus’ parable addressed primarily to His disciples that they not fall into the same trap as did so many of the Pharisees about whom it was supposed that “if but two men went to heaven, one would be a Pharisee” (Matthew Henry), but about whom Jesus had just said, “You serpents, you brood of vipers; how will you escape the sentence of hell” (Mat 23:33)?  Cf. Luk 21:34-36.  In this light, what is the significance that in every instance where Scripture speaks of weeping and gnashing of teeth—which is traditionally understood in regard to the worst torments and horrors of hell—that the context is always in reference to those who at one time were counted among the faithful, but in fact turned out to only be pretenders?  Cf. Mat 8:11-12, 13:40-42, 47-50, 22:11-13, 25:14,18,29-30, Luk 13:24-28.  What does this again remind us about who those are that in the judgment will receive the harshest condemnation?  Recall Mat 23:33, Jam 3:1, and see Luk 12:47-48.  Does it not make sense that the greatest remorse in hell, characterized by weeping and gnashing of teeth, will be felt by those who had the greatest opportunity to embrace the light of the truth, but chose instead to embrace the passing pleasures of sin?  Contrast Heb 11:24-26.

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