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 The Watching servants



Verse 39 (in Luke) is usually ignored by commentators.
"If the Master had known, he would have taken precautions,"
It seems to muddle the message, makes it too difficult
and yet isn't that often the case !

This parable is much loved by those focussed on the end-times
but that is a diversion from the message, as perhaps it was intended to be.
The teaching of Jesus was, and is, often too radical for us to take on board.
As a result the Gospel writer wraps it up into a non-confrontational package
and we, like the Gospel writers, tend to misunderstand or water it down.
The reading can even be cut-back by commentators to exclude its end,
verses 41-48, which point the finger of responsibility -.

We can see that the disciples, and thence the church, represented by those left in charge of the house.
We can see the history of Christianity laid out before us in verse 45,
a history of injustice, internal strife, intolerance;
a history that denies every demand of its founder
Did Jesus foresee all this?

Perhaps he looked at how the people of God, the Jewish establishment, had treated their calling
Once put in a place of power, people will fight to maintain that power, that pride of place.
When outside the ruling few., they fight for position; demand their rights.

The tragedy of the church, of Christianity, is that we are meant to be people who serve, as Jesus served;
people who include and welcome, as Jesus included the marginalised of his day.
Yet we consistently build our places of power and pride,
exclude others in our fear of being toppled from our holy perches.
Dominating or dominated, we are fearful either of the fall from our commanding height
or of being disciplined by those who have assumed a right to do so from the position they have gained.

Luke remains stuck on his concept of vengeful justice (vv 47-48),
failing to see that it is that very blindness which is the "thief" of v39;
the thief which has come in under the radar and stolen the true meaning of Christ's message.

Can we recover the radical nature of the Kingdom of God?
Are we ready to respond to the overwhelming love which serves us if we are ready to accept it
or are we focused on personal power - the very ministry that Jesus rejected,
but which has been such a feature of Church history?