Friday

“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” (v. 48)

Luke 12:35-48 Friday 21 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 73:1-14


Background

After the injunction not to worry about health, wealth andstatus in yesterday's passage, Jesus tells us what wereally should worry about. The one thing we should focus on is thecoming of God and of God's kingdom.

Luke's Gospel wants us to think of Christian existence withinthe expectation of the coming Son of Man. 'Son of Man' is one ofthe most difficult phrases in the New Testament and scholars haveargued over it for decades. In Luke's Gospel the phrase oftenrefers to the ministry of Jesus himself. Here, though, we can see'Son of Man' moving from being a description of the Jesus' ministryto referring to the future - the one who is to come. No one knowsthe exact moment when God's final judgement is made present. So thebest policy is to be prepared. Matthew 25 has a similar range of parables,including the famous story of the wise and foolish bridesmaids.

The next picture Jesus paints is unfamiliar - even distasteful -to most of us, for we take it for granted that slavery is a socialevil with no redeeming features. But the master-slave relationshipwas universal in the ancient world, and everyone would have knownabout it. So Jesus takes a familiar concept, but gives it someshocking twists. For example, with the picture of a master puttingon an apron and serving his slaves after they've done a hard day'swork (verse 37) Jesus reverses the natural order of things in orderto make a point.

Jesus' hearers would also have been familiar with the thief inthe night - it's a picture that crops up in several places in theNew Testament. The point is to live in the present as if God'sfuture kingdom were already here. That's exactly how Jesus himselflived, and that is what he urges on his followers.

And behind these pictures from contemporary life was anotherpicture, one drawn from the story of Israel. Exodus12:11 talks about the Israelites having their loins girded asthey prepare to set off for freedom and eat their last meal, thePassover. The people of God have always been told to live as if thefuture were already present.


To Ponder

  • What kind of picture, drawn from the contemporary world, wouldexpress (for you) the message that Jesus presents here?
  • What would it mean for you to live as if the future was alreadyhere? 
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