MATTHEW 24:42-51 THE KING COMMANDS HIS SERVANTS TO WATCH
42. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
This is the practical conclusion of the whole matter. That our Lord is coming, is certain; that his coming may be at any moment, is a matter of faith; and that we are ignorant of the time of his coming, is a matter of fact: “Ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. ” Christ’s words are in the present tense. He does not say, “Ye know not what hour your Lord will come,” but, “what hour your Lord doth come”, as if to keep us always expecting him; and lest we should not heed his words, he puts the command in plainest language:” Watch therefore. ” The title that he uses gives additional force to the command to his disciples to watch, for it is our Lord who is coming quickly.
43, 44. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
If the householder has reliable information that a thief is coming, but does not know at what hour he will arrive, he will keep awake all night, waiting for his appearance; but if “the goodman of the house ” is told “in what watch the thief ” will come, he will be specially on the alert at that time.
Every little sound will attract his attention. He thinks he hears someone at the back door; no, the thief is trying to enter by a front window! Wherever he comes, he will find that the master’s ear is listening, the master’s eye is watching, the master’s hand is ready to arrest him; for he had received timely warning of the housebreaker’s coming. Men act thus wisely with regard to burglars; what a pity they are not equally wise in watching for the coming of their Lord! We do not know, we cannot even guess, in what watch of earth’s long nightHE will come: “In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. ” There is the present tense again, “the Son of man cometh,” he is coming; his own words are, “Behold, I am coming quickly.”
Christ’s coming to the world will be like that of the thief, when it is not suspected or expected, and therefore when due preparations for his reception have not been made; but his true followers will not let “that day “overtake them “as a thief “( 1 Thessalonians 5:4). ‘They ought ever to be looking for his appearing. Our Lord’s injunction to his disciples ought to have even greater weight with us who live so much nearer to the time of his Second Advent than it had with those to whom he addressed his warning words, “Therefore be ye also ready. ” We ought to be as watchful as if we knew that Christ would come tonight; because, although we do not know when he will come, we do know that he may come at any moment. Oh, to be ready for his appearing, watching and waiting for him as servants whose Lord has been long away from them, and who may return at any hour! This will not make us neglect our daily calling; on the contrary, we shall be all the more diligent in attending to our earthly duties because our hearts are at rest about our heavenly treasures.
45, 46. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
The apostles were “stewards of the mysteries of God” ( 1 Corinthians 4:1), and “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” ( 1 Peter 4:10).
One great qualification for a steward was that he should be found “faithful ” both to “his lord” and to all in the “household ” over whom he was “made ruler. ” It was needful also that he should be “wise ” in his dealings with his fellow-servants; for, notwithstanding the honor put upon him, he was still a “servant ”, who must give to his lord an account of his stewardship. These words describe the service of a minister, preaching the truth with all his heart, and seeking “to give meat in due season ” to all over whom the Holy Ghost hath made him an overseer. Or they picture a teacher, endeavoring to feed the minds of the young with sound doctrine; or they portray any servant of Christ, whatever his calling may be, doing the work that his Master has appointed him, just as he would wish to do it if he knew that his Lord was coming at that moment to examine it: “Blessed is that whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. .” Such a servant of Christ is blessed; he is a happy man to be found by his Lord “so doing.” May our Master find us thus occupied when he cometh!
47. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
His lord had formerly made him “ruler over his household”, the steward who had charge of all the household servants. His faithful and prudent conduct in that office won for him promotion to a higher post, so that his lord resolved to “make him ruler over all his goods. ” Thus is it among the servants of King Jesus, there are rewards for faithful service not of debt, but of grace; not according to the rule of the Law, but according to the discipline of the house of God, and the higher rule of Love.
It should be noted that faithfulness in one form of service is rewarded by further service and increased responsibility. The servant, whose pound gained ten pounds, received authority over ten cities ( Luke 19:17). 48-51. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This man was a “servant “, so that we have here a warning, not to the outside world, but to those who are inside the Church of Christ, and who profess to be servants of God. This is also specially a warning to ministers of the Word, those who are made rulers over God’s household. This man, though a servant, was an “evil servant”; a hypocrite, one who had intruded into an office which he had no right to occupy. His thoughts and words were evil: “If that evil servant shall say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming. ” His conduct towards those put under him was evil: “and shall begin to smite his fellowservant. ” His own life was evil: “and to eat and drink with the drunken. ” His evildoing would be suddenly cut short by his master’s appearance: “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of. ” Immediate and terrible punishment would be meted out to him: “And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: ” he was one of them, he pretended to be a servant of God when all the while he was a slave of