October 31, 2013
Scripture and Commentary, Friday after the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity
Morning – Psalm 40, 2 Kings 23:1-23, 2 John
Evening – Psalm 37, 26, Dt. 5:1-21, Mt. 25:14-30
Commentary, Matthew 25:14-30
This passage has been called the parable of the talents, and the parable of the unprofitable servant. The story is very easy to follow. A man intends to travel to “a far country,” leaving his goods in the care of his faithful servants during his absence. Quite obviously Christ is beginning to talk about things beyond the disciples’ question about the destruction of
Jerusalem. Yes, the destruction of Jerusalem is in this parable. Christ, the owner of the house is going away,
leaving the care of His “goods” in the hands of the Apostles. It will be their task to teach and guide the
Church, and get it out of Jerusalem
before the Romans attack. Yet the
parable seems to look beyond this, as though Christ is using the judgment of Jerusalem to illustrate a
far greater time and event.
Christ is not just going into the desert for a while to pray, as the disciples probably think. He is returning to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. While He is gone, He will leave His “goods” in the care of the Apostles, and the clergy who follow them until the His return. His “goods” are the Church. His goods are the people who trust in Christ as Saviour and love Him as Lord and God. It is the task of the Apostles to teach the Bible to these people, organize them into congregations and diocese, and to teach and ordain clergy to carry on the work of the ministry.
The talents are great measures of wealth, far beyond what even wealthy people could accumulate in a life-time. Here they represent the Gospel and all the blessings of God on His people. The Apostles are stewards of this wealth (see 1 Cor. 4:1). A major part of the Apostles’ task is to “invest” this wealth in such a way that it brings a return to the Owner. The return is the growth in faith and Godliness in the Church. It is also the addition of souls to the Church as the Apostles spread the Gospel and receive believers into the Church.
The faithful Apostles are those who bring a return to Christ. The faithful ministers are those who continue the faith they learn from the Apostles, and teach it to the succeeding generations. But this is not the domain of clergy alone. It is the task of the entire body, and every member of the Church. Just as a ship has many people doing different jobs, but all are united in the primary task of getting the ship to its next port, so the Church has people in different callings and jobs, but all united in the task of being the Church and proclaiming the Gospel.
The unfaithful servant probably refers first to Judas the betrayer of Christ. He will renounce his calling to be an Apostle, and show that he has no real faith in Christ. His fate is the same as that of the unbelieving Pharisees; to be cast into the outer darkness where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt. 25:20. See also Mt. 24:51, Mt. 21:45, Mt. 22:13). It refers also to the clergy who renounce Christ by preaching another gospel and another Christ, who leave the faith given by Christ to the Apostles. No matter how noble their intentions, there is one faith once for all delivered unto the saints. No man is authorized to change that faith. Finally, it refers to every person who believes himself to be a member of Christ’s Church, yet has buried the Gospel by changing or ignoring the Faith. Such people show themselves to be unprofitable servants, and theirs is the fate of 25:30.