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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 37 - Mark 13:34-37 - The Master Cometh Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




The Master Cometh.


     "For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to hit servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at mid-night, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."-Mark 13:34-37.



     Work and watch! Watch and work! This is the substance of this parable. The message comes straight from Christ's lips; it comes to us; it seems specially meant for us in these last days. Let us arrange it thus:

     I. The house. We may, in one sense, call this the earth, in another, the visible church on earth. The scene of the parable is evidently laid here, and concerns men dwelling here. It was here that He himself came to abide: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."  His tabernacle was then with men.

     II. The householder. It is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This world is his by creation and by inheritance. He is proprietor of the estate; possessor of the house. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him. He came unto his own. "Christ as a Son over his own house," says Paul.

     III. The journey. He has gone to another land, like the nobleman who went to the far country to receive the kingdom. Here the object of the journey is not stated, for the parable is complete without it. He wishes to shew the state of the house in his absence; and his regulations for the household when left to themselves. For the condition, order, behavior, &c., of servants in the presence of the master, is one thing, and these in his absence, quite another. There is room for eye-service in the one case, but not in the other. The time of absence is one of testing. Faith, love, obedience, fidelity are tested. The present dispensation is the testing-time for men,-specially for the church.

     IV. The servants. All who are occupied with the management of Christ's affairs are his servants. They are expected to do the Master's will, and to work the Master's work. In one sense all men are his servants. He created them to work his work; and hence He speaks to them as such. He speaks to all kings and rulers throughout the earth as those from whom service is expected. But specially are the members of his church engaged for service. Frequently does He give them this honorable name. He has called them to a kingdom, yet also to service. Kings, priests, friends, brethren, and servants, are the names he gives them. Serve the Lord, is his message to each member of his church. For each Christian is a servant of this household; and each one who calls himself a Christian says, "Christ is my Master, and his work will I do, for I am his servant."

     V. The charge. Our translation, "authority," conveys less than the Greek implies. The master summons the servants, tells them of his intended absence, and gives them charge of the house,-devolves its responsibilities upon them, so that they shall feel the master's absence even more influential than his presence. They were to act for him, to represent him, to conduct the affairs of the house in his name. How great the responsibility of the master's absence! Even more solemn, more urgent than his presence. The servant is put upon his honour, his right feeling, his conscientiousness. Instead of being rendered more careless by the absence, he ought to be doubly diligent and conscientious.

     VI. The individual work. To each one his separate work. As each member of the body has its own office, so has each servant of the household his separate work. The eye cannot act for the ear, nor the foot for the hand; so can no servant do the work of another. There is work enough for all, and each has his own. It is for our own that we are responsible, and for no more. This should check ambition, and envy, and disappointment. Each servant has his own work, which no one can do for him. Let him do it well.

     VII. The command to the porter. As he leaves the house he gives special command to the gatekeeper, to watch. The servants are inside, the porter at the door. His special duty is to watch.

     1. Watch against thieves and robbers. This is one of the main purposes for which he is there. He frightens away the enemy, and he warns the inmates against his approach.

     2. Watch for the master. Be ready to receive him; to open the gate to him; to give notice to the inmates; at whatever hour he may come. It is taken for granted that it will be some night hour; like the bridegroom at midnight.

     Ministers of Christ are specially the porters. To them the command is, Watch. To all it is given; but specially to them. They watch for others as well as for themselves. In the master's absence, enemies, thieves, robbers will come,-watch. "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil walketh about." Watch, the master may come at any time! Be ready, on your own accounts; be ready, for the sake of others. Sleepy servants are evil; but sleepy watchmen are worse. Behold he cometh! Behold I come as a thief!