Luke

Luke 12:35-53 The Faithful And Evil Servants.

Unlike Matthew and Mark, whose treatment of the second coming and final judgment follows upon Jesus pronouncement on the destruction of the temple, Luke deals with it much earlier than his treatment of Jerusalem and the judgment of 70 AD (21:5-33), although He does reiterate the need to watch (vv. 34-36), after the transition verses of 32-33 (Cf. Mt. 24:34-35; Mk. 13:30-31). Unlike what he will write concerning the destruction and judgment of 70 AD, the second coming and the final judgment does not have then occurring time referents. Of the second coming, no man, other than the Father, knows that hour (vv. 39-40). The final judgment is what is ultimately in view (v. 48). There would also seem to be a parallel with the wise and foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1-13 (Cf. I Pet. 1:13). Furthermore verse 37 echoes Matthew 24:46, which also concerns the final judgment.

Besides verse 37 finding a parallel with Matthew 24:46, here are some other parallels with Matthew. Verse 42 with Matthew 24:45-46, verse 44 with Matthew 24:47 and 25:21, and verse 45 with Matthew 24:48. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (v. 40 Cf. Mk. 13:33). After his brief passage on the second coming (vv. 32-37), Mark launches into the plot to kill Jesus. Matthew, on the other hand, has several sections dealing with the second coming (24:36-25:46). However, for Luke, this passage follows upon his treatment of the importance of being rich toward God by helping others, and in so doing one will have “treasure in the heavens” (v. 33). We can say that the faithful servant is one that the master will find doing just this very thing (v. 48). Then Luke seems to reverse the order we find in Matthew and Mark, by turning to events concerning that generation, or “this time” (v. 56).

The main point of the present passage is remaining faithful in service. The evil servants stop persevering because they are impatient with the master, believing he has delayed his return. Of course, with the Lord, there can be no delay-He will return when the Father has determined it (Cf. I Th. 5:1-3; II Pet. 3:3-4). Luke then transitions to that present time as Jesus says that he came to bring fire (v. 49). Fire is judgment as it burns away the chaff so that what lasts will remain. It is a fire that will only come after His impending baptism-His death and resurrection (v. 50). It would seem that it is not the last day, but the close of the old covenant era, culminating in the destruction of 70 AD (vv. 51-53). We should also not lose the point that Jesus said that with His death and resurrection His work would be “accomplished” (v. 50). “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (Jn. 19:30).

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