There is a very timely warning given in both Matthew and Luke, which may apply to us today. Notice these passages:
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken…” (Matthew 24:48-49)
“But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken…” (Luke 12:45)
Here we have two parallel passages, almost identical. Today these verses are speaking two different messages, to two different groups of the Master’s servants. To the one group, there is warning; to the other, there is encouragement. Let’s look at both messages, and see where each one of us fits in to these messages.
First, let’s look at terminology. What is a “delay of His coming?” If the train has a delay of its arrival, what does that tell us? It tells us that there is a time interval to be added to the “expected” time of arrival. The time was expected. It was known. But now there is a “delay” beyond the known, expected arrival time.
Next, let’s notice The word ‘smite’ is the Greek word ‘tupto’, Strong’s <5180>, meaning “to strike, beat, wound, or disquiet,” which includes the meaning “to trouble or vex.”
The word “smite” can be seen throughout the Old Testament, where we find the following passage:
Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. (Jeremiah 18:18-19)
Here we see our Matthew and Luke passage come to light. Here we see that Jeremiah brings Yahweh’s word, but the hearers “smite” the messenger with their words, and then disregard the message. They are “contending” with the messenger, for they did not like his message.
Next, we ask, who is it that says, “My lord delays His coming.” In our Matthew and Luke passages, the one who says “the Master delays His coming” is the same one who begins to “smite” his fellow servants.
But who does the smiting? Is it the messenger who announced the Master’s expected arrival date– or, was it the many hearers of the messenger’s report?
When the announcer at the train station gives notice of the train’s delay, who becomes upset? Who is it that grumbles, and complains, and curses? Is it the announcer giving the message who complains– or is it the hearers of the message?
When the messengers announced the high likelihood of the Master’s arrival, and the Master did not arrive as announced, perhaps there are some who said, “False Prophet!” “You’re wrong!” “You’re in error!” “You do not hear from the Master!” “You had better not quit your day job!” and on and on.
Beloved, these accusations and vexing words hurled at the messengers are the equivalent of smiting, or “Beating” our fellow servants, and the Master will not take too kindly to such action, when He returns!
Last, let’s notice in Mat 24:48 above the reference is to that “evil” servant. The only prior mention of any servant in Mat 24 is of the faithful and wise servant in verse 45, who gives meat in due season; so verse 48 is not referring to that servant as “evil.”
We must conclude that the “evil” servant referred to in this verse is the one who smites his fellow servants. This action of smiting, and vexing each other with our words, is what the Master calls “evil,” so it must be a very serious matter.
Beloved, let’s clean up our act, and realize that how we deal with one another is a MAJOR part of our preparation — and may make the difference between being a Bride, and being a Bridesmaid. Let’s all consider this carefully!