Parable of the Faithful Servant

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Illustration by Jan Luyken.

The Parable of the Faithful Servant (or Parable of the Door Keeper) is a parable of Jesus written in the New Testament in Matthew 24:42-51, Mark 13:34-37, and Luke 12:35-48.

What Jesus said[change | change source]

The parable:

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Peter asked, Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?

The Lord answered, Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

— Luke 12:35-48[1]

What it means[change | change source]

The parable immediately precedes the Parable of the Ten Virgins in the Matthew 25. It means "be prepared and remain alert."[2] The exact time of Jesus' Second Coming is unknown.[2][3]

The bridegroom is Jesus Christ.[4][5] The wedding banquet is his wedding banquet.[3][6] The advice is for the church, his bride, while she waits for him.[2][7] He has chosen her.[8] "That privilege brings responsibility and that responsibility entails accountability."[9][10] Priests will be judged more severely than pagans who never heard of Jesus.

References[change | change source]

  1. Passage Lookup - NIVUK -
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Eerdmans, 1999, ISBN 0802838219, p. 592.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, Eerdmans, 1997, ISBN 0802823157, pp. 497-501.
  4. John 3:26-30
  5. 2 Corinthians 11:2
  6. Revelation 19:5-10
  7. The Cyber Hymnal: Ye Servants of the Lord.[permanent dead link]
  8. Ephesians 5:22-33
  9. J. Dwight Pentecost, The Parables of Jesus: Lessons in life from the Master Teacher, Kregel Publications, 1998, ISBN 0825434580, p. 175.
  10. Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, Eerdmans, 1997, ISBN 0802823157, p. 506.