The Bible is an ancient Near Eastern book that presents truths in eastern and not western genres, and as such presents major doctrinal truths in tension-filled paradoxical (dialectical) pairs. People who are not acquainted with eastern genres practically hate dialectical tensions. We want it black or white. We want truths in “either or” categories. What cause us the greatest problem are two tensions related to the 2nd Coming. There are passages that say that Jesus can come in any moment, any moment of any day the Lord can return. But you read these passages that say there are some things that must happen first; like that the gospel be preached to all nations, a great apostasy and falling away, the revelation of the man of sin. All of these things must happen first, and yet the same time, Jesus can come any moment. Another tension that we have is the kingdom of God itself. The synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke seem to say the Kingdom is out there; it’s coming but it’s out there. John says the Kingdom of God is here; it’s near you. We’re always wondering, is it here or there? Yes it is. It’s both here but not fully consummated. All of these tensions have led to the great confusion on this whole concept of the 2nd Coming
The parable of the faithful and wise servant (cf. Matt. 24:42-51, Mark 13:34-37, and Luke 12:35-48) attempts to illumine this tension of the 2nd Coming. However, i would like to serve notice that parables, while they have been the greatest source of illumining truth, they have also been the greatest source of heresy the church has ever known. The reason for it is because, parables are extremely ambiguous exactly on what they’re trying to say. Parables are meant to open up truths to those who believe, but will confuse, close, and darken truths to unbelievers. Therefore, dogmatism is inappropriate in this area. Never build major New Testament doctrines on parables. The parable of the faithful servant tries to communicate one central truth. It’s central truth in my opinion is for a servant to be faithful to his assigned task, even though there is a long delay in the Master’s return. I must admit to you I am surprised Jesus has waited more than 2,000 years now, aren’t you? I think Paul expected Him in his lifetime. I think John expected Jesus’ return in his lifetime. I think everybody’s surprised that Jesus has tarried 2,000 years, and just like in the book of Peter, people say, “where is His coming?, “He has delayed so long, where is His coming? And the warning of this parable is, though He’s been a long time delaying His return, do not grow weary in well-doing (cf. Gal. 6:9; Matt. 10:22). HE’S COMING AGAIN. WILL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH? Be faithful to your assigned task. The terrible temptation of man is to use the resources that God provides for ministry for selfish gains, as the wicked servant who beats his fellow slaves and keeps on eating and drinking with those who get drunk thinking that his Master will be gone for a long time. Little does he know his Master will come on the very day he is not expecting. Hear that? When everybody’s saying, “the Lord is coming soon”, (you can just mark it down) He’s not coming. It is going to be a real shocker. Even to those who think He might come soon are going to be surprised when He comes. I guess faithfulness is the key to this whole thing of His 2nd Coming.