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Matthew 24:45-51 – The Faithful and the Unfaithful Servant

Summary

As it waits for the coming of the Son of Man, Matthew's disciple community will be engaged in obedient fulfillment of the master's work through faithful and caring service.

Analysis

What does faithful waiting in the meantime look like? In answer to this question, Matthew draws on Q material to paint a picture (see Luke 12:42-46). Matthew has carefully restructured and focused the parable to balance the examples of the faithful and unfaithful servants. Both have been given the charge of caring for the household and the other servants while the master is away. The faithful servant is blessed (here the word blessed occurs for the last time in Matthew), because he is found at work doing the assigned tasks when the master arrives, whenever that might be. The unfaithful servant instead uses the time of the master's delay as an opportunity to beat his fellow servants and to party and get drunk. The allegorical application of this parable to the life of Matthew's community is transparent. Faithful and obedient discipleship, discipleship that reveals the presence of God's blessing, is to be actively involved in caring for God's world and for God's children in the meantime of waiting for the return of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:45-51

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave

45 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves* their allowance of food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, 49and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51He will cut him in pieces* and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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