Luke 12: 47-48 – Responsibility of Servants


These verses (Lk 12: 47-48) have no parallels in Matthew, and their source is ‘L’. They carry the theme of responsibility for service further. The sayings contain admonitions against incompetent and unfaithful servants. The servant who does not fulfil his duty responsibly will be punished. The sayings underscore the factor of the servant’s knowledge of the obligation or of the master’s wishes. Punishment will correspond to the degree of culpability based on this knowledge on the part of the servant (Cf. Num 15: 27-30). Those who knowingly fail to fulfil their obligation will be given greater punishment; those who are ignorant of the obligations will be treated less harshly. The proverb in the second part of verse 48 gives an explanation for the kind of treatment which will be meted out to such servants. God will demand much from one who is endowed with talents. These words of Jesus, as we have them in the gospel now, refer to the leaders of the Christian community. What is the impending emergency or crisis for which the Lukan Jesus warns and exhorts the disciples to be prepared? In this passage, which is Lukan in its formulation, we have a genuine teaching of Jesus on watchfulness and faithfulness. However, as it now stands in the gospel the point of reference is the second coming of Jesus, the Son of Man (Cf. Lk 12: 40); (Cf. Acts 1: 11c; 7: 56; 17: 30-31; for the Old Testament background of the theme of watchfulness, see Is 13: 6; Ezek 30: 3; Joel 1: 15; 2: 1; Amos 5: 18).

What do you think? .... Type your comments below.