Serving the in between: reflection

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-23The disciples of Jesus are to be ready to open to the Master “immediately when he comes.” The answer to Peter’s question (v. 41) directs the discourse toward the Christian leaders especially. The overriding image of authority in this text is one of service.  Something that Jesus applies in a special way to the Twelve as leaders of a restored Israel.  Where the servants are to stand in readiness for the return of the master, the stewards are responsible for their own work as well as that of the community as a whole.  The care of what has been entrusted foreshadows the parable of the sums of money (19:11–27). The sayings on the distribution of responsibilities or gifts in the concluding verse of the section are clearly pertinent for those in authority, but they have a wider application for all on whom spiritual and temporal gifts have been bestowed.

There is no inconsistency here among responsibility, mercy, and punishment. God’s mercy makes allowances for those who do not know what is expected of them. But the most severe punishment is reserved for persons who are entrusted with great responsibilities and who then high-handedly and irresponsibly mistreat others and fail the trust given to them by their Lord. In a time of permissiveness and daily reminders of the pervasiveness of immorality even within the church, these parables can still serve to remind, exhort, and warn Christians of the seriousness of their moral commitments. If much has changed since the first century, some things have changed hardly at all. [Culpepper, 265]


  • Allen Culpepper Luke, vol. 9 in New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN.: Abington, 1995)
  • Joel Green, The Gospel of Luke, vol. 3 of The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Gorden Fee (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1997)
  • Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, vol. 3 of Sacra Pagina, ed. Daniel J. Harrington (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991) pp. 197-206
  • Jerome Kodell, “Luke” in The Collegeville Bible Commentary, eds. Diane Bergant and Robert J. Karris (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1989) p.960
  • Leon Morris,. Luke: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Vol. 3: (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988) pp. 233-36
  • K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007) pp.330-32
  • Brian Stoffregen, “Brian P. Stoffregen Exegetical Notes” at
  • Scripture quotes from New American Bible by Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. ©

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