Faithful Servant vs. Evil Servant (Matthew 24:45-51)

“45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?  46Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.  47Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.” (Matt. 24:45-51)

PRIESTS IN HIS KINGDOM – Jesus tells His disciples about His coming Parousia will bring judgment against Israel and their obsolete Old Covenant (OC) world.  He uses a parable to give them a picture of what He is describing.  In this illustration, He says that when the master comes and puts his servant in charge of his household, he will reward that servant if he is wisely doing his job.  The master will make the faithful servant ruler over all his good. 

  • This parable refers to Jesus, the Master, leaving His spiritual household after the Cross at His ascension.  The faithful servants are His true believers (Christians).  They are rewarded for being obedient and dependable witnesses of the gospel.  They looked for His coming (Parousia) to return for them and to bring judgment against OC Israel and were staying prepared and ready (stayed watching the signs as Jesus told them to do). 

When He returned with judgment to pour out His wrath on the OC Hebrews in late AD 66 – 70, Christ was fully consummating the transition from the Old Covenant (OC) to His New Covenant (NC) kingdom, and from then on all Christians have the responsibilities in His kingdom to continue spreading the gospel and discipling His believers (The obsolete and empty OC Temple and earthly priesthood system was done away with forever).

  • This is an important and exciting point for Christians in the New Covenant system of the Kingdom of God.  As believers, we all have a managing role and a royal priesthood position in the Kingdom.  Each believer has direct access to God.  We no longer must go through a priest with sacrificial animals to pray to God. (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Heb. 13:15; Lev. 7:12-15; Rom. 12:1). 

Now, all believers are priests themselves and they have direct access to the throne. (As from that time, when the Temple and OC system was destroyed and the eternal Kingdom fully consummated, there was no longer any “not yet” access into the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:8; Rev. 15:8, 16:17-21 were fulfilled).  We today live with Him in life and fellowship now, and then forever in His presence “face to face” once we leave this life and go to be with Him in the afterlife.

This is only because of the completed redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  Those who are “in Christ” by faith, are able to go where He goes.  They have been permanently entrusted with His power, which is functional when they trust Him, obey Him, and glorify Him. 

 “48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will but him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 24:48-51)

  • WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH – In the same parable, Jesus told His disciples that the evil servant was not prepared for the master to return.  The evil servant was not faithful in managing the household.  He beat the fellow servants and was a drunkard.  The master punished him and put him with the hypocrites.  He would suffer with weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Remember, this time in the early 1st century before AD 70 was a very unique “once in time” era: God was closing the obsolete Old Covenant relationship with the OC Hebrews.  Yes, they were already divorced (Jer. 3:6-9; Ezek. 16:1-3, 32-38, 23:22-35), but the carrying out of the removal of that obsolete OC system would only be fully accomplished after one final plea made to the OC Hebrews – as Christ was their promised Messiah, and the elect remnant needed to be saved as foretold and promised in so many OT passages.

The preaching of the gospel and warning to the OC Jews was done by the Apostles, other believers, and especially Paul.  The gospel was spread through the four corners of the known world, and inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written down in many of the books in the Bible for all of us to see and believe (Col. 1:6, 23; Rom. 1:8, 10:18, 16:25-26; 1 Thess. 1:8; Titus 2:11; 1 Tim. 3:16; Acts 2:5). 

The 1st century saints went throughout the Roman empire for 40 years explaining to the OC Hebrews that Christ was the Messiah and was the fulfillment of all of the OC promises, and that they needed to leave Judaism and the OC earthly shadow elements and come to the true fulfillment by faith in Christ alone, and had to discard trying to put any value on any bloodlines or works to try and show they were a fleshly child of Abraham, but that all the believers now, whether Jew or Gentile, were established as the spiritual “true Israel” (Rom. 2:28-29, 9:6-7; Gal. 3:3-7, 28-29; Phil. 3:2-3). 

The warnings and call to repentance had to go to the Jew first (Rom. 1:16.  Recall also Matt. 15:24.  Also see John 1:11, 29-31), as Christ was their promised Messiah, but once the pleading and reasoning with, and the anger and refusal of the OC Jews reached its culmination – Paul announced that they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life – and he turned thenceforth to the Gentiles, as the commission of warning to the OC Jews was nearing completion (Acts 13:45-51, 18:5-6,  28:20-29). 

So, you can just imagine the 1st century animosity and struggle within the OC Jews and their hatred of the NC church, as each group were saying that they were the ‘true children’ of God.

  1. The meaning of the parable in Matt. 24:48-51 is that faithful believers (Christians) are rewarded and put in charge of His kingdom.  On the other hand, Jesus deals harshly with the unbelieving Jews.  When He comes in judgment against Israel, He finds them still rejecting Him as the true Messiah, and still practicing the Old Covenant sacrifices and ceremonies.  Since the cross, that was now an abomination to God for it denies all that Jesus had suffered and done for His people.  The unbelieving Jews continued in their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.  He now returns and judges them, multitudes are slaughtered between AD 66-70, and they are sentenced along with the rest of the unbelieving dead to an eternity in the eternal Lake of Fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  1. This brings into light the warning and meaning behind Heb. 10:28-30, “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies…how much worse punishment…who has trampled the Son of God underfoot…the blood of the covenant…the Lord will judge His people.”
  1. Who is the audience – the Hebrew Christians; what is the issue Paul has been bringing them through – their history – the history of the Old Covenant, and how it was a type and shadow and could never save them.  And how Christ has come with the substance spiritual fulfillment through His blood shed on the cross of the eternal New Covenant

What had been the battle since the beginning of the church through this entire 1st century transition period? – the OC Hebrews had been saying again and again, with attack and persecution, since the church began, that they (OC Hebrews) are still the children of God and that the NC believers needed to come back under the Mosaic law if they were to be saved, and needed to be circumcised, and observe all the covenantal laws and ordinances.  The pressure had been intensified by the point in time of the writing of the book of Hebrews (approx. AD 62 – 63), and a great persecution and great falling away (apostasy) of many believers from the church back into Judaism had been going on.

  1. Paul is addressing this very same familiar issue here in Heb. 10:28-30 and he is telling them that if they leave the truth of the NC blood in Christ, and return to the OC law, then there is nothing left to save them, as they had known the truth and would be trampling the power of the blood and saying it was not the power unto salvation by faith alone

If they turn back to the pressures of the Judaizers and the OC sacrificial system, they are told that would leave them with nothing but a fearful expectation of judgment and condemnation about to come, having “tasted the heavenly gift, and been partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the ageabout to” come (Mello) (Heb. 6:5).  The whole theme and contrast through Hebrews is of the OC vs. NC.

  • This parable also describes the final sentencing of the judgment against Israel.  They are the first century evil servants that the Master finds when He returns.  They are NOT some distant relatives of those servants, some two thousand years later. 

When Christ came (Parousia) in judgment against the Old Covenant system and the wrath of God was poured out the Jews from late AD 66 thru 70, He found two kinds of people in Israel.  There were the faithful Jewish remnant and the non-believing reprobate Jewish leaders and people. 

At the Parousia the believers were raptured and saved/rescued from the coming outpouring wrath upon OC Israel, given eternal life and brought into the unseen heavenly realm of His eternal New Covenant kingdom to be with their Messiah Jesus forever (their redemption (rescue) had “drawn nigh” Luke 21:28; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; Heb. 1:14; Tit. 2:13).  Those 1st century non-believing scoffers were a wicked and perverse generation (Isa. 28:14-22; Deut. 32:20; Matt. 17:17; Luke 11:29-32; Acts 2:40, 13:41; Jude 17-18).  They were cast out once and forever and were not included in His New Covenant kingdom (Matt. 8:11-12; Luke 13:22-29; Matt. 21:41-45, 22:1-2, 7-8; Gal. 4:30). 

The obsolete OC world animal sacrifice system was sentenced, judged and the power of the ‘holy people’ completely destroyed, mass multitudes killed, including their priests, while their temple and all the elements that made up the OC system melted in fervent heat in the fires Rome set on Jerusalem and the Temple (Deut. 32:23-26; Dan. 9:24-27, 12:7; Matt. 22:7, 23:31-38, 24:1-2; Luke 21:6, 20-22). 

The obsolete OC was done away with forever, as the NC was fully consummated, and the Old Covenant ‘sons of the kingdom’ were cast out into outer darkness—where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12, 24:51; Luke 13:22-29).

[Also see: Vineyard (Parable of)alsoCast Out of the Presence of the LordalsoWedding (The Wedding of the Son)]

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 6 Matt. 24:45-51”]