Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 29th

In the Meantime

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, My master is staying away a long time, and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:48-50

It is evident that this servant has the same ministry committed to him as the first one (vv. 45-47). He, too, is expected to give them their food at the proper time. The same storehouse of the Word is at his disposal, to feed the hungry of the household whenever they need it. The health and welfare of the household is his responsibility and depends upon his faithful ministry.

But this servant is different. When his lord does not come as soon as he expects, he says to himself, My master is staying away a long time. Here is a hint that the return of the Lord will be delayed beyond the expectations of men. The apostles expected him in the first century, but he did not come. Now many centuries have gone by, and the effect of that long delay has been what the Lord here predicts. Many who claim to be his servants have given up hope of his return, and the effect is immediately apparent. The servant begins to beat his fellow servants, neglect his ministry, and indulge his appetites to the full. It is a vivid picture of what happens when the expectation of the Lord's return is abandoned. There is a sequence of failure that can be traced. First, hope for the Lord's return weakens and is lost, leaving little motivation for feeding the household. Therefore, it is neglected — the Word is not taught and people grow spiritually weak, full of weakness and carnality, manifested in quarreling, injustices, and excesses of every sort.

Though the servant has given up, still the Lord returns, suddenly, at an hour which the servant does not expect. Undoubtedly this will be one of those occasions when the servant will say, Lord, Lord, have I not done mighty works in your name? But it is all to no avail. He has specifically not done the one thing the Lord required of him. He has been faithless to his commission. Therefore, he shall be punished and put where he belongs — with the hypocrites! For he has assumed the name of a servant of the Lord, but has proved false to his trust. He has never been a true servant at all.

The Lord makes clear in this parable the seriousness of failing to feed the household of God. The degree of biblical illiteracy in the church is beyond belief. And the widespread effect is a powerless, quarreling, materialistic church whose knowledge of its Lord's presence is almost nil, and whose hope of his return has long ago burned to gray embers. The cause for this sterile mediocrity is faithless servants, who have never assumed or have given up their task of feeding the household. Jesus views this failure with the greatest solemnity. Consequently, we should not be surprised to hear Jesus say that when the master of the house returns he will confront the faithless servant and cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Lord, help me maintain a vital expectation of your soon return so that I might remain faithful to what you have called me to do.

Life Application

What am I doing to remedy the biblical illiteracy in my own life and the lives of those around me?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

What to Do While Waiting

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