Over the last three weeks Solomon’s Porch has been rounding out Matthew 24 and 25. We’ve now looked at three parables given by Jesus in succession that both build on one another and in a sense help us to know how we are to live in His physical absence. The parables are,
Matthew 24:42-51 The Wise and Wicked Servant
Matthew 25:1-13 The Ten Virgins
Matthew 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents
Remember that parables are moral tales meant to convey moral principles. They are not allegories. Each of the parables have specific meanings and specific purposes for being told. They create together a gem with multiple facets that can be turned and viewed from various angles to see its beauty.
Jesus has been for all of Matthew 24 talking about a terrible judgement that is going to occur within a generation (Matt 24:34-35) or forty years (Numbers 13:32) from the time in which He is then speaking to His disciples. A judgement He himself will be bring (Matt 24:27-28) as the risen and ascended Savior and King. A judgement that will, like the judgements of the Old Testament, use a proxy. In the Old Testament the Babylonian Empire was a sword wielded by the hands of the Triune God (Ez 21) to judge His people. In the New Testament era, that power, meaning the power of Kingship which comes with the sword is now in the hands of the fully Divine and fully Human Christ. Jesus’ proxy to bring judgement upon Jerusalem will be the Roman Empire (Matt 25:15 compare to Luke 21:20). Beginning in Matthew 24:36 and on through Matthew 25:30, Jesus’ will begin to talk about how to live in the light of judgement… specifically judgement in His absence. Not His total absence, as He sends the Holy Spirit into His people after His ascension, but in His physical absence. So each of the parables listed above have this characteristic in them. The wicked servant says in Matt 24:48 says, “my master is delayed.” The bridegroom in 25:5, “was delayed.” The master who distributed the talents was “going on a journey” and then he returned, “after a long time.” So the moral lessons in these passages all teach us how we, meaning the Apostles who would see the destruction of Jerusalem, and the disciples that came after them who would see various other judgements in their own lives and civilizations, all the way down to the disciples who will one day see the end of all days and the establishment of the Eternal Day, are to live in the light of judgement during Jesus’ ascended physical absence.
Three themes arise in these passages. In the first parable, in Matt 24:42 the wise servant is to, “be ready” to serve those he is in charge of faithfully. In the second parable, in Matt 25:3-4, the wise virgins were “prepared” for the bridegrooms “delay” by bringing “flasks of oil.” In Matt 25:21;23 the two “faithful servants” had been good stewards of their master’s property through active investment. So the three moral lessons that Jesus is teaching us can be stated this way:
- We should all be ready to receive Christ by faithfully serving those we have been placed in authority over.
- We should all be prepared to endure until Christ comes, whether that is for us personally at the end of our own life, or collectively at the end of all things.
- We should all be a good stewards while we await Christ’s return by actively using the resources He has committed into our hands for His Kingdom expansion.
In the coming weeks we will look at each of these three aspects further to see if we can gain some good insights on “How To Live In The Light Of Judgement.”