PART VIII: THE MISCELLANEOUS PARABLES
From everyone who has been given much,IntroductionThe Parable of the Servants' Responsibility is found in
The Story"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 beaten with few blows.
The master represents God. The servant represents theThe Interpretation
Christian. Clarke comments on the Jewish custom of whipping:
47. SHALL BE BEATEN WITH MANY STRIPES.
Criminals among the Jews could not be beaten with
more than forty stripes; and as this was the sum of
the severity to which a whipping could extend, it
may be all that our Lord here means. But, in some
cases, a man was adjudged to receive fourscore
[eighty] stripes! How could this be, when the law
had decreed only forty? Answer: By doubling the
crime. He received forty for each crime; if he
were guilty of two offenses, he might receive
48. SHALL BE BEATEN WITH FEW. For petty
offenses the Jews in many cases inflicted so few as
four, five, and six stripes.
From this and the preceding verse we find that
it is a crime to be ignorant of God's will, because
to everyone God has given less or more of the means
of instruction. (Clarke, COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY
BIBLE, Abridged by Ralph Earle, p. 875).
Jesus' hearers would understand the Jewish punishment
for disobedience. They would also understand the same type
of punishment that masters would inflict on their slaves
(servants). Morris applies the parable to Christians:
1. Responsibility rests on those who have received
much. (Jonah 4:11; Amos 3:2).
2. Men will be punished for failing to do right,
as well as for doing wrong. (James 4:17).
3. Why are people punished who sin in ignorance?
There is no such thing as absolute moral
(Romans 1:20; 2:14-15). (R. G. V. Tasker, TYNDALE
NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARIES, LUKE, by Leon
Morris, pp. 218-219).
Farrar comments, ... there is no such thing as absolute moral
ignorance. ...punishment shall be PROPORTIONAL to sin....
They who knew not will not of course be punished for any
INVOLUNTARY ignorance, but only for actual misdoing.
(Carr, CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT FOR SCHOOLS
AND COLLEGES, LUKE, by F. W. Farrar, pp. 280-281).
Childers comments further:
Greater LIGHT, ABILITY, AND OPPORTUNITY
mean greater responsibility. (BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY,
LUKE, By Charles Childers, p. 530).THERE ARE DEGREES OF GUILT. Only God can be the
true judge because in him there is absolute objectivity. He alone has
exhaustive knowledge of right and wrong. Degrees of guilt
are ABSOLUTE, whereas degrees of CULPABILITY are relative.
THERE ARE DEGREES OF CULPABILITY. Only God can
be the true judge because he is omniscient (all knowledge and all
wisdom). People may do bad things and yet have diminished
responsiblity or culpability because of a lack of knowledge,
or low IQ, or mental illness.
THERE IS CULPABLE NEGLIGENCE. This entails truth
we are held accountable for, even though we do not know it, but
could have know it if we had:
(1) Read the Bible; and
(2) Walked in the light God would have shown us.
Here are three examples to illustrate the above three points:
(1) A man murders another man in a jealous rage. He is
convicted of murder and serves prison time. Another
man deliberately rapes and murders two women. He is
convicted of rape and premeditated murder and is executed.
These two men are both guilty. The first man killed one man.
The second man raped and killed two women.
(2) A mother backs her car over her child and kills it because
she did not see the child. She is GUILTY of killing her child.
The child is just as dead as if someone had murdered it.
However, the mother is griefstricken and in anguish, because
she loved her child so much that she would have gladly given
her life for the child. She is not CULPABLE because she did
not know her child was behind the car. She does not have to
serve jail time.
(3) A man is driving his car and his brakes fail. He hits
a pedestrian and kills him. The driver is GUILTY of killing
the pedestrian. The driver is very sorry--he did not deliberately
kill the pedestrian. During the trial, it is pointed out that the
driver knew that his brakes were bad and had put off not having
them repaired. The driver is found CULPABLE to some degree
because of his negligence. He is convicted of manslaughter,
is sentenced, and must serve some time in jail.
Central TruthWE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO OBEY GOD AND WE
WILL BE HELD
ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS.
We need to be very careful to obey our Heavenly Father. What we
do or fail to do affects many other people. Much personal suffering
and suffering of others could be avoided if we simply would obey the
Lord. What we do will not only affect those who are now living, but
those who may be born in the future! END.