14.01.06 Lk. 21:34-36; Mk. 13:34; Mt. 24:45-51; Mk. 13:35-37
JESUS URGES WATCHFULNESS
Lk. 34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Mk. 34 It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his slaves, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert.
Mt. 45 “Who then is a faithful and sensible slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? 46 That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. 47 I assure you: He will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and starts to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 that slave’s master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mk. 35 Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming — whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. 36 Otherwise, he might come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!”
Jesus said there will be a time when tremendous suffering will come across the entire earth to all humanity. This is now understood to be the time of the great Tribulation. However, there are considerable differences of opinion as to whether Christians will go through the Tribulation, or if they will be raptured prior to it. What is agreed upon is that even prior to the Tribulation and rapture, persecution will become global. In today’s world, persecution of believers is not only at an all-time high, but is nearly global. It has often been said that more Christians were martyred in the 20th century, than were killed in all the 19 previous centuries combined. And the trend is only escalating.
“He will cut him to pieces.” This phrase reflects a time of violent history, when a Roman slave owner could legally and literally cut a slave into pieces for being disobedient. This phrase was a figure of speech since the practice was illegal in Judaism, but was common in neighboring cultures as still is among some radical Islamic groups today.
A few scholars believe the context of this passage is that Jesus addressed those who will follow Him, but will continue to live like the pagans. His words clearly are of rejection imagery, and those who waste their lives will be cast out into utter darkness (hell). Just like the five foolish virgins, they will have no part of eternal life or the messianic Banquet.
“In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This expression is a specific reference to a real and painful eternal hell, the lake of fire for those who reject Christ. Again Jesus warns for the consequences of living an ungodly life.
. 1 Sam. 15:33; Heb. 11:37; Sus 55; cf SBK 4:698-744.
. See the discussion of rejection imagery at the end of 12.01.02.
. For further study, see Pagenkemper, “Rejection Imagery in the Synoptic Parables.” 179-198.