The following passage from Luke is related to the Endtime, that period expected fervently by the early Church, when Jesus, the Son of Man, would come in glory to lead his people into his heavenly kingdom.
But this final coming was not just a time of salvation, but also of judgment. As such it was a cause of nervous apprehension. The counsel which follows is particularly addressed to those who have stewardship or responsibility in the Church.
The Lord of Lords comes to take an ‘accounting’ of his disciples, to reward and to punish, to vindicate and to sanction. The teachings which follow tell the disciple what to expect and how to face that final ‘day of the Lord’.
Firstly, the Lord’s coming will be sudden and unexpected. Jesus even compares his coming to that of a ‘thief in the night’ who breaks into a house without warning. So look sharp and stay awake, is the counsel to all.
For another, see that you do whatever you’ve been expected to. Don’t get slack, or forgetful. Give an account of your stewardship. Treat others fairly and respectfully. Don’t bully, or dissipate your time. Just as the rewards for the good and faithful servant are abundant life, the punishment for those who are negligent is being “cut to pieces”.
The context of these teachings is ecclesial, that is, it refers to those who held responsibilities in the early church community. All too easily, office bearers grow slack and abusive and instead of caring for the larger community, only have a care for themselves. These words remind them that ‘from whom much is given, much is also expected.’