60 With belts fastened

Luke 12:35-48
Isaiah 4:2-6 5:21-25
T The parable of Jesus

 Seek God. At that time, God commits our all life, and works for our new life as His own life. We heard that last two phrases are orientation of the disciple's life of Jesus. However, there is still a continuance. It is the text of this morning.

 "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. And be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and find them so, blessed are those slaves. And be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (35-40) As the last phrases are divided into the first and the second, Luke divides it into two parts this time, too, and is going to deepen the understanding of the reader. At first, it is from the first stage. This is a story of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 24; but, it becomes the center theme of the second coming that Jesus comes once again at the end, in both Matthew and Luke; and it is also the theme of how disciples must provide for that time. However, here, it seems Luke's own message is put. The original purpose of "the parable" intends the assistance of the central subject, but, here, it is felt that the central subject is hidden in "the parable". We want to hear it.

 By the way, this parable has some inconsistent impression. It began that destination of the master was a wedding ceremony, but, it changed to the story of thief suddenly, and it was tied to the second coming of the Lord. In the first place, it begins "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight", but the impression that Luke attached by force the stories which Jesus talked about at respectiveness is strong at the stage of his editing. Will it be the contextual medley which has no relation?

U The One who is King

 At first, we thought about "Be dressed for readiness". The New English Bible version translates it as follows, "Be ready for action, with belts fastened and lamps alight,". Because the Jewish jacket was a thing overturning from a neck to a hem with one piece of cloth, relaxedly it is like a big mantle, but it is not quite active even if good in normal days. When he makes an active move, to gird loins is necessary. Would not that best stage be a battle? It is necessary to hang a sword in it, and my imagination swells out in various ways. This master will be King. Probably, he got the invitation of the wedding ceremony from the ally, and a thief is an enemy of the King waiting for a chance, and servants are soldiers; and during absence of the King, servants guard it in arms. "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight", it is thought it was their service manner to be faithful to that order. There were such small race and city state everywhere in those days. The most of the town seems almost one small country surrounded with a fence. Jerusalem and Bethlehem are so, and the the oldest cities of the world including Jericho which belongs to 9,000 years ago are excavated. When we see it so, each one of the articles which is seen without connection with this text connects with wonderfully.

 Even the small country would have the ceremonies of the wedding only by the kings. It was common the ancient social wedding ceremony ran for days. It would be served as the friendship of kings, and the ally meetings would be carried out, too. Therefore, when all was over and he reached the homeward journey in a great hurry, it would have been midnight or the daybreak. Would Jesus be pleased with such loyal service of servants? They kept absence of the King and knew the return home of him and opened a gate immediately. Jesus said "truly I say to you" as if He was this master. "He will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them." For a King, it will be impossible. However, Jesus did it. In a seat of the Last Supper, Jesus became the servant to serve and washed foot of disciples. Not only it, Jesus gave His own life, and such His figure is piled up here. This King was Jesus Himself.

V With belts fastened

 This parable was said as the continuance of that "Seek for His kingdom" (31). "This becomes the center theme of the second coming that Jesus comes once again at the end, in both Matthew and Luke; and it is also the theme of how disciples must provide for that time" I said; but a certain explanatory note person says, "For disciples, God's country will come completely after Jesus has shown to His own people waiting for him at that time, after He revived". Surely, it will be sure. This is a blessing from the One who comes as King. The ones who are expiated by the cross of the Lord, and who are waiting for the second coming of Jesus with fastened belts; they will be invited to the country of our God in this way. I think I have only to enter at the rear gate opened a little, of His country timidly... However, if the Lord is waiting me magnificently in an open front gate, if I will receive such a welcome, how it will be honor!

 However, we must clear the pit that is talked about on the second stage of this parable to participate in this honor. Disciples did not seem to be able to swallow that honor yet. Peter asked. "Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?" (41) It is because disciples were surrounded by a large number of crowds and one of them approached Jesus with the issue of succession of the inheritance, and it seems that they would think Jesus was surely talking to a crowd, and would have put themselves in the outside. Therefore, this talk was audible to an extremely abstract thing even for disciples. Modern we have the same thing. The Bible never talks about "the general Gospel "; so we must hear it speaks to "me ( or you) ". Disciples would finally begin to notice it, though it is too late. Jesus said.

 "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (42-48) The One who is King has authority to judge as well as to bless. Which do you choose? It hangs to us. The condemnation to a bad servant is the same as Pharisees, but Luke will warn that the people of faith of the initial church which included oneself will do a same mistake as them. We must hear that warning carefully with belts fastened, too.