The parable of the servants awaiting the master’s return is another wisdom story. Those servants who remain awake having girded up their loins for service with extraordinarily be invited by the master to recline at the meal table and be themselves served by the master – amazing grace!
Those servants who become forgetful of their master’s return and begin to exploit their fellow servants will face judgment. Judgement remains the focus of Luke chapters 12-13.
The contrast then is between faithfulness that shares in the messianic banquet and the exclusion that comes upon the unfaithful. It is instructive to notice that the specific behavior that expresses the unfaithfulness of the wicked servants is their beating their fellow servants. When the master returns the judgment is “an eye for an eye” and a “reaping of what was sown”. In other words, those who beat their fellow servants are now beaten.
There is a graduation of punishment though. The servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive many beatings but the servant who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive few beatings. Everyone to whom ‘many teachings’ has been given, of him ‘many things’ will be required.
Once again there is the exhortation to live in light of judgment to come.