Matthew 24:42-51


Matt. 24:42-51

Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord comes. Understand this–that if the householder had known at what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have been awake, and he would not have allowed him to break into his house. That is why you, too, must show yourselves ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Who, then, is the dependable and wise servant whom his master put in charge over his household staff, to give them their food at the right time? Happy is the servant whom his master, when he has come, will find acting thus. This is the truth I tell you–he will put him in charge of all his belongings. But if that bad servant says to himself, `My master will not be back for a long time yet,’ and if he begins to beat his fellow-servants, and if he eats and drinks with drunkards, then the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not expecting him, and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there.”

Here is the practical outcome of all that has gone before. If the day and the hour of the coming of Christ are known to none save God, then all life must be a constant preparation for that coming. And, if that is so, there are certain basic sins.

(i) To live without watchfulness invites disaster. A thief does not send a letter saying when he is going to burgle a house; his principal weapon in his nefarious undertakings is surprise; therefore a householder who has valuables in his house must maintain a constant guard. But to get this picture right, we must remember that the watching of the Christian for the coming of Christ is not that of terror-stricken fear and shivering apprehension; it is the watching of eager expectation for the coming of glory and joy.

(ii) The spirit which leads to disaster is the spirit which says there is plenty of time. It is the comfortable delusion of the servant that he will have plenty of time to put things to rights before his master returns.

There is a fable which tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and ruin men. The first said, “I will tell them there is no God.” Satan said, “That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God.” The second said, “I win tell men there is no hell.” Satan answered, “You will deceive no one that way; men know even now that there is q hell for sin.” The third said, “I will tell men there is no hurry.” “Go,” said Satan, “and you will ruin them by the thousand.” The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time. The most dangerous day in a man’s life is when he learns that there is such a word as tomorrow. There are things which must not be put off, for no man knows if for him tomorrow will ever come.

(iii) Rejection is based on failure in duty, and reward is based on fidelity. The servant who fulfilled his duty faithfully was given a still greater place; and the servant who failed was dealt with in severity. The inevitable conclusion is that, when he comes, Jesus Christ can find us employed in no better and greater task than in doing our duty.

A negro poet writes:

“There’s a king and a captain high,
And he’s coming by and by,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
You can hear his legions charging in the regions of the sky,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
There’s a man they thrust aside,
Who was tortured till he died,
And he’ll find me hosing cotton when he comes.
He was hated and rejected,
He was scorned and crucified,
And he’ll find me hoeing cotton when he comes.
When he comes! When he comes!
He’ll be crowned by saints and angels when he comes.
They’ll be shouting out Hosanna! to the man that men denied,
And I’ll kneel among my cotton when he comes.”

If a man is doing his duty, however simple that duty may be, on the day Christ comes there will be joy for him.

Back to: THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW (Chapters 11-28)

Back to: Barclay’s Commentary

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