October 29, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday after the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 28, 2 Kings 22:3-13, Titus 3
Evening – Ps. 34, Dt. 4:25-31, Mt. 24:42-51

Commentary, Matthew 24:42-51

We are still looking at Christ’s words to His disciples on the Mount of Olives.  This “Olivet Discourse” probably occurs on the Tuesday before Good Friday.  So time is short for Christ, and He wants His disciples to be as prepared as possible for the coming events.  We recall that this discourse began as the answer to the disciples’ question regarding the denunciation of the Pharisees in chapter 23, and His prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, found in 24:37-39.  Even the Temple will be destroyed, according to the Lord’s words (24:2).  The disciples want to know when this will happen and what will be the sign that it is about to begin (24:3).

Our Lord has patiently answered their question as well as their limited understanding would allow.  But they still don’t understand, and will not until after His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Tonight’s reading shows Christ’s warning to be ready.  The goodman of the house in verse 43 is the one in charge of a house that belongs to another.  There is a great hint here that the Apostles, and other clergy after them, will have charge of the Saviour’s house, which is the Church.  The Apostles will basically reside in Jerusalem until its destruction.  They will be responsible for telling the Church when to leave that city to avoid the massive death and destruction the Romans will visit upon it.  Since they don’t know when this will happen, they are to “Watch therefore” (24:42).

Many have noticed that this same counsel applies to the ministers of God’s Church through history.  As the Lord’s judgment came upon Jerusalem, it will also come upon all the earth.  As the disciples did not know the day or hour when the Lord would “return” to judge Jerusalem, the Church also does not know when He will return to judge the earth.  It is the clergy’s task, therefore, to continually watch and warn His people to be constantly ready.  Thus, our Lord’s words to the disciples are as relevant to us today as they were to them; “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man [Christ] cometh” (24:44).

Verses 45-51 are addressed first to the disciples regarding their new role as Apostles in the New Testament Church.  They are to be faithful servants, preaching the Gospel and establishing the Church in the doctrine and practice He gives unto them.  He promises to make them rulers over all His goods (vs. 47).  That includes overseeing the Church, while they live on earth, and having thrones of glory in Heaven.  It applies, secondly, to the bishops and clergy that come after the Apostles, continuing to keep the Church in the Apostolic/Biblical faith and practice.  It applies, thirdly, to all Christians in all times and in all places.  It is the task and duty of each of us to keep the Church faithful, keep ourselves faithful, and proclaim the faith given to us by Christ through the Apostles and preserved in the Bible.  Evil servants, those who do not keep the Apostolic faith and practice, who lead others into sin, who no longer exhort people to believe the Gospel and watch for the coming of our Lord, shall be cut asunder (cut out of the Church) and have their portion with the hypocrites (Pharisees) where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (24:51).

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