IntroductionThe Parable of the Watchful Servants is found only in
Luke 12:35-38. Barclay places it in a group with The
Householder and the Thief (Luke 12:39-40/Matthew 24:42-44;
The Faithful and the Unfaithful Servant (Luke 12:41-46/
Matthew 24:45-51); and The Servants' Responsibility.
(Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, LUKE pp. 170 ff.).
"Be dressed ready for service andThe Story
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. (Luke 12:35-38, New
International Version).The word translated servant is DOULOS, "a bond-slave."
(Morgan, THE PARABLES AND METAPHORS OF OUR LORD,
p. 193). Paul referred to himself as a bond-slave of Christ:
In calling himself, however, a `bondslave of Jesus
Christ,' e.g., Rom. 1:1, the Apostle Paul intimates
(1) that he had been formerly a bondslave of Satan,
and (2) that, having been bought by Christ, he was
now a willing slave, bound to his new Master.
(Vine, VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW
TESTAMENT WORDS, s.v., "Bondman, Bondmaid").
The night watches, as they correspond to our time, were:
First watch 6-9 p.m.
Second watch 9-12 (Midnight)
Third watch 12-3 a.m.
Fourth watch 3-6 a.m.
(BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY, LUKE, By Charles
Childers, pp. 527 ff.).GOD CHARGES US TO BE PREPARED FORThe characters and symbols of the story, and the personsThe Interpretation
and things that they represent in reality are:
1. [Bond]-Servants Believers
2. The Master Jesus
3. The Master's return Jesus' Second Coming
Barclay suggests how the Lord should find us when he
comes the second time:
1. With our work completed
2. At peace with our fellow-men
3. At peace with oneself.
(Barclay, DAILY STUDY BIBLE SERIES, LUKE pp. 170
The phrase in Luke 12:37, "he [Jesus] will dress himself
to serve" is literally, "he will gird himself," the
translation of one Greek word, PERIDZOSETAI. Clarke explains
this custom in Jesus' day:
37. HE SHALL GIRD HIMSELF. Alluding to the
long garments which were worn in the Eastern
countries; and which, in travelling and serving,
were tucked up in their belts. That those among
the Romans who waited on the company at table were
GIRDED, and had their clothes tucked up, appears
from what Horace says, "He runs about like a girded
waiter." (Clarke, COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY BIBLE,
Abridged by Ralph Earle, p. 875).
It is interesting to note that Jesus will serve his
followers when he returns. This is a role-reversal of
Master-Servant. The Christian willfully accepts the Lordship
of Christ in this life and seeks to serve him. When Christ
returns, he will serve his followers. NOTE: This is
nothing new on Jesus' part: he served his disciples while on
earth by a life of dedication and finally, by dying for them.
He makes intercession for his disciples while he is away:
...because Jesus lives forever, he has a
permanent priesthood. Therefore he is
able to save completely those who come to
God through him, because he always lives
to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:24-25,
New International Version).
JESUS' SECOND COMING.
We must be constantly "tuned in" to God, listening for
his direction. As we constantly seek to do his will, we will
be watching for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and we
will be prepared when he arrives. END.