Be alert

Luke 12:35-48
³⁵”Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.
³⁶Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
³⁷Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
³⁸Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

These watches speak of a certain time (during the night) in which the watch was kept, so it is a waiting time, i.e. a period during which some of the guards were on duty, and at the end of which others took over the watch.
The earlier Greeks had usually divided the night into three parts, and so the Israelites had three watch shifts a night before the exile; later, however, after being subjected to the Romans, they adopted the Roman custom of dividing the night into four watches.

³⁹”But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
⁴⁰You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
⁴¹Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?”
⁴²And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?
⁴³Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
⁴⁴Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
⁴⁵But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;
⁴⁶the master of that slave 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 assign him a place with the unbelievers.
⁴⁷And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
⁴⁸but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

Or in other words:

Jesus said, “Make sure you are always ready. You should be like servants waiting for their lord when he comes back from his wedding. They make sure the lights are on. Because as soon as he knocks, they want open the door for him.
How wonderful it is for them to be awake when their lord returns. For I tell you that he will invite them to the table and serve them himself.
If he comes just before midnight, or even after midnight, and sees that they are awake, it will be wonderful for them.
Remember well, if the owner of a house had known what time the thief would come, he would have stayed up. He wouldn’t have been burgled in his house.
That is why you should also pay close attention. Because the Son of Man will come unexpectedly. “
Peter said, “Lord, is this story meant only for us, or for other people as well?”
The Lord Jesus said: “I am talking about the faithful and wise servant who has been put in charge of the other servants by his lord. He must take care of them.
When the lord returns and sees that the servant is busy with his work, it will be wonderful for that servant.
Listen carefully! I tell you that his lord will put him in charge of everything he owns.
But what if that servant would say to himself, my lord will stay away for a while. And suppose he would mistreat the servants and servants and lead a lazy life with lots of food and drink.
Then his master returns unexpectedly, at a time when the servant is not expecting him. And his lord will punish him and treat him like a criminal.
A servant who knew what his master wanted, but did not do it, will be severely punished.
But someone who did not know his lord’s will and did wrong things will receive a light punishment. If someone has been given much, much will be asked of him. And if a person has been entrusted with much, much will be required of him.

Jesus says in this Bible passage that He will first go to a wedding, and then He will return. At first the disciples did not understand this. They still thought that God’s Kingdom would break through in all glory, now that Jesus, the messiah, had come.
After 3 years of public work, Jesus knows that the Jews are very dismissive of him (Luke 13:7).
And looking ahead to the time of his absence, which is the time we live in now, He also sees the danger of slackening discipleship, because His return would take so long.

In the four parts of this parable, Jesus himself is the lord and his followers are slaves.
The question is how the slaves will behave towards their lord.
We should not be controlled by people or things, but we should be controlled by our Lord.
That is why you should also pay close attention. For the Son of Man will come unexpectedly (Luke 12:40). And when the Lord returns and sees that the servant is busy with his work, it will be wonderful for that servant (Luke 12:43).

1 In the first part of this parable, Jesus pictures Himself as coming home from a wedding (Luke 12:36-38). When he returns home, he notices that his slaves are still busy.
What does he do then? He serves them!
What a great lord to work for!
He likes to be with those who really follow him.

2 In the second part of this parable, Jesus calls his followers to be watchful, to be awake all the time (Luke 12:39-40).
His return makes you rich and happy, or poor and unhappy.
What it will be depends on your decisions.
▪︎ Are you busy with the things that He has commanded you, or not?
▪︎ Are you still awake in these dark times or not? (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)
▪︎ Do you follow Him, or do you follow your own ideas, or perhaps the ideas of others?

3 In the third part of this parable Jesus speaks about the steward, the slave who has been appointed as administrator over the domestic workers (Luke 12: 42-46)
This section shows us the responsibility and privileges of the leaders of the congregation.
Many of them are not called and appointed by God, but have seized power themselves. And this, whether or not in a covenant with worldly rulers, and then exploited simple believers and made them slaves. And those who did not want to submit to them were persecuted.
Throughout the ages, a lot of blood is on the hands of these “clergy,” and this continues to this day.
Jesus’ verdict on them is clear. They will be severely punished and treated as criminals (Luke 12:46; Compare Matthew 25:41)
But the loyal and sensible stewards will receive their reward. (Luke 12:44)

4 The fourth part of this parable makes it clear to us that the more you know about God’s will, the greater is your responsibility (Luke 12: 47-48).
Desire to get to know God better, and live accordingly. Live as a Christian as if Jesus was coming back right now.

Think about this for a moment: How does Jesus’ soon return affect your commitment.

Prayer suggestions:

▪︎ Ask God to empower you to do what you need to do.
▪︎ Ask God to give you a watchful heart so that you will be awake in these dark times.

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