Matthew 25:19 (After a Long Time the Master Settled Accounts)

Recall in the Parable of the Talents that Jesus compares His kingdom (see Mat 25:1,14) to a man who called his own slaves and entrusted to them large quantities of his wealth to manage for him and then departed on a journey.  We are reminded by the parable of the part He has called us to play in the kingdom He established and for which we pray in the Lord’s prayer to come to earth as it is in heaven.  For having been ransomed from the god of this world, purchased with His own blood, and set free from the cruel bondage to sin, we are not our own but belong to Him who redeemed us for the very purpose that we might serve Him in expanding His kingdom in the world; cf. Luk 1:73-75.  And we do this not from compulsion but from love, knowing that Christ’s commands are not burdensome (1Jo 5:3), and His yoke is easy and His load is so very light (Mat 11:30) compared to that of our former taskmaster.  By rescuing others and adding them to the ranks of God’s kingdom we encroach on Satan’s territory and weaken his kingdom, slowly but surely.  Two of the master’s servants immediately put their talents to work earning an amount equal to what had been entrusted to them.  However, another of them dug a hole in the ground and buried his talent to keep it safe for fear of losing what had been entrusted to him by his master, whom he knew to be a hard man.  In this regard, he was not unlike the scribes and Pharisees, or many today, whose relationship to the Master is marked by fear and duty (cf. the older brother of the prodigal son in Luk 15:29), but not necessarily the love of one sacrificially redeemed from a cruel taskmaster.  For although they are careful to preserve the riches of His wisdom and truth, at the same time they do nothing with them to further His business in the world.

When does Jesus say in the parable that the master of the slaves returned?  See Mat 25:19.  How many other times in the Olivet Discourse has He alluded that He would not return to establish His kingdom in the way they imagined and as immediately as they supposed?  See Mat 24:48, 25:5; cf. Luk 19:11.  For what reason might the Master of the slaves have been so long in returning?  Was it because he actually wasn’t that great of a Master, having left his servants unsupervised to do the work He really needed to be there to do himself?  Or had the Master in fact done everything He could do to provide His servants the sort of kingdom they longed for—including sending forth His own Spirit to lead and guide them—but according to the nature of their creation there was a role they had to play and work they had to accomplish as well if the kingdom they sought to inherit was to be a true kingdom grounded in reality that would be full of richness for them not just during their earthly lives but for all eternity?  And is the reason that He didn’t come until after a long time actually because He is patient, understanding the time required to remold human hearts, and He doesn’t want any to perish, but for all to come to a repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth in order that they might be truly saved—not just in some intangible, ethereal sense, but in the very down-to-earth real sense of experiencing the peace and joy that only comes from walking in the truth for which we were created as servants of His kingdom?  Cf. 1Ti 2:4, 2Pe 3:9.  At the same time is the reason He tarried because He also wants His servants to have the time required for the investments He has entrusted to them to grow and compound according to the Father’s original command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, so that they can see the fruit of their labors, that they labor not in vain, and they can share in the joy and fulfilment of knowing that they are participants in God’s kingdom and fellow workers with God, as a small taste of what it means to enter into the joy of their Master?  Cf. Mar 16:20, Joh 14:12-14, 1Co 3:6,9, 2Co 6:1, 1Pe 5:1, 2Pe 1:3-4.  How does this help us to understand that as the Law was our tutor to lead us to Christ, so Christ, our Master, is also the “first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29), who desires to lead us into “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21, KJV) where we are “fellow heirs” of God with Christ (Rom 8:17) of God’s eternal kingdom?  Cf. Mat 25:34, and contrast 1Co 6:9-10.

What does Jesus say in the parable that the Master of the slaves did when he returned?  See Mat 25:19; cf. Mat 18:23-24.  Notice that the Greek words used mean literally to “take up a word with” another; notice also the manner in which each of the slaves personally gave an account of himself to the master in the verses that follow.  What does this remind us about how each one of us is personally accountable to the Lord and the time that is coming when He will have words with each one of us individually in regard to what we have done with what He entrusted to us?  See Rom 14:12, 2Co 5:10.  In that day, will there be anything hidden from the Lord, whether good or bad?  See 1Ch 28:9, Psa 139:2, Ecc 12:14, Jer 17:10, Rom 2:16, 1Co 4:5, Heb 4:13.  As a settling of “accounts” is literally a settling of “words”, what are we reminded about the importance of our words, and especially the words of our baptismal vows to renounce the world, the flesh and the devil to follow Christ in love and obedience as His fellow workers and servants of the kingdom of God?  Cf. Mat 12:36-37.

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