Luke 12:42
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
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(42-46) Who then is that faithful and wise steward?—See Notes on Matthew 24:45-51. Here the words come as an answer to Peter’s question. The promise was spoken, not for the Twelve only, but for every faithful and wise steward. The words are as the germ of the parable which sets forth the wisdom, though not the faithfulness, of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:8-10). If wisdom and prudence alone deserved the praise there bestowed on it, what would be due to wisdom and faithfulness united? In St. Paul’s words, “It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1Corinthians 4:2), we may, perhaps, recognise one of the many traces left on his Epistles by the companionship of St. Luke. (See Introduction.)

12:41-53 All are to take to themselves what Christ says in his word, and to inquire concerning it. No one is left so ignorant as not to know many things to be wrong which he does, and many things to be right which he neglects; therefore all are without excuse in their sin. The bringing in the gospel dispensation would occasion desolations. Not that this would be the tendency of Christ's religion, which is pure, peaceable, and loving; but the effect of its being contrary to men's pride and lusts. There was to be a wide publication of the gospel. But before that took place, Christ had a baptism to be baptized with, far different from that of water and the Holy Spirit. He must endure sufferings and death. It agreed not with his plan to preach the gospel more widely, till this baptism was completed. We should be zealous in making known the truth, for though divisions will be stirred up, and a man's own household may be his foes, yet sinners will be converted, and God will be glorified.See the notes at Matthew 24:42-51.

Second watch - See the notes at Matthew 14:25.

42. Who then, &c.—answering the question indirectly by another question, from which they were left to gather what it would be:—To you certainly in the first instance, representing the "stewards" of the "household" I am about to collect, but generally to all "servants" in My house.

faithful and wise—Fidelity is the first requisite in a servant, wisdom (discretion and judgment in the exercise of his functions), the next.

steward—house steward, whose it was to distribute to the servants their allotted portion of food.

shall make—will deem fit to be made.

See Poole on "Luke 12:41" And the Lord said, who then is that faithful and wise steward,.... Christ does not directly, and in express words, answer to Peter's question, but suggests, that though he intended it as a caution to all his people, and in it spoke to them all to be upon their watch and guard, Mark 13:37 yet that he had a special regard to them, his apostles, and succeeding ministers of the Gospel, whose characters, office, work, dignity, and honour, are here described. Such are stewards in Christ's family, they are entrusted with the stores and provisions of his house, and "faithfulness" and "wisdom" are requisite in them; the one, that they do not corrupt and adulterate the word of God, and mix it with human doctrines, but that they deliver it out pure and sincere as it is; and the other, that they may rightly divide it, and wisely distribute it:

whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household: Christ's "household", or family, is his church, over which the ministers of the Gospel are appointed "rulers", to govern the house according to the laws of Christ, and keep every thing in good decorum and order; and particularly their work, and which agrees to their character as stewards is,

to give them their portion of meat in due season: in doing which they answer the characters of faithful and wise stewards: they are faithful who give out the whole portion allotted, without adulterating it, or keeping back any part of it; and they are wise, who deliver it to them in proper time and season. The word translated "portion of meat", is only used in this place, and is rendered in the Vulgate Latin version, "a measure of wheat"; but it may be applied to any food in general, and an allotment of it; and signifies such a portion as was given to servants for one month, or rather every day; and may signify that portion of the word of God, and the interpretation of it, which is to be given forth every Lord's day to his people, suitable to their condition, cases, and circumstances. The Septuagint translators use the verb in Genesis 47:12 who render the text thus, "and Joseph, measured out to his father", and to "his brethren, and to all the house of father, wheat", or bread, "according to their persons", i.e. the number of them: to which passage there may be some reference here; at least it serves to illustrate this; See Gill on Matthew 24:45.

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their {l} portion of meat in due season?

(l) That is, every month the measure of corn that was given to them.

Luke 12:42-44. In the pregnant style characteristic of Jesus as it most of all appears in John, He makes no direct reply to that question, but proceeds with His parable of the servants, and among these He now for the first time begins to speak of that one (the apostles generally cannot be described in Luke 12:42-46) whom He, before His departure, would set over the rest of the household as οἰκονόμος (the post destined for Peter!). He depicts his great recompense in the event of his being faithful, and his heavy punishment in the event of his being unfaithful (down to Luke 12:48); and He consequently made Peter, whose question betrayed an inconsiderate exaltation above the crowd, understand His reply to mean: Instead of meddling with that question, thou hast thine own consequent position to keep in view with fear and trembling! Then, however, Luke 12:47 f., he links on the general law of retribution under which every one comes, and which every one has to lay to heart. As to the reference of τίς ἄρα, and the relation of the question to Luke 12:43, see on Matthew 24:45 f.Luke 12:42. ὁ Κύριος, the Lord, in narrative.—τίς ἄρα, etc.: in Mt. this is connected immediately with the thought in Luke 12:40, so that Peter’s interpellation appears as an interruption of a continuous discourse. Some variations from Mt.’s text are noticeable in Lk.’s version: οἰκονόμος for δοῦλος, καταστήσει (future) for κατέστησεν (aorist), θεραπείας for οἰκετείας, σιτομέτριον for τροφὴν. These changes, according to Weiss and Holtzmann (H. C.), are due to the parable being connected with the Apostles, and one can see some plausibility in the hypothesis so far as the first two variations are concerned. The question: who then, etc., is supposed to answer itself: who but each of you apostles, who especially but you Peter?42. Who then is that faithful and wise steward] Our Lord, in the deeply instructive method which He often adopted, did not answer the question, but taught the only lesson which was needful for the questioner. St Paul perhaps refers to these words of Christ in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2.

their portion of meat in due season] “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,” Acts 20:28.Luke 12:42. Τίς, who) The Lord does not expressly reply to the question of Peter; but yet He intimates, that He addresses the parable strictly to the disciples (for the steward is distinct from the household committed to him): and He shapes His address to them in the singular number, so as thereby to stimulate them singly and individually the more. Then in Luke 12:54-55, He says something to all then present, reproving the people, inasmuch as, not as yet having become sensible of the truth of the Messiah’s first Advent, they were not able to comprehend the doctrine of the Second Advent.—καταστήσει, shall appoint [‘make’]) The Future tense: because it is faithfulness [which had yet to be proved] that makes the servant worthy to be appointed over the household. A new καταστήσει, shall appoint [‘make’], follows in Luke 12:44. There is a gradation from the charge over the ‘household,’ to that over “all that He hath” [all his goods, τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ].Verses 42-44. - And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. Jesus goes on with his discourse. Apparently he pays no heed to Peter's question, but really he answers it fully, giving in fact more details on the subject of rewards to the faithful in the life to come than even Peter's question required. "Who then," asks the Lord, "is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler ever his household?" Who? Peter must answer the question. This steward should be Peter himself and each of Peter's chosen companions. This high position of steward in the household of the Lord should be filled by those whom Jesus had specially chosen. If, when he came again, the Lord found these faithful to their solemn trust, then these should receive a still higher and grander recompense even than that inconceivably splendid reward (mentioned in ver. 37) which had so struck Peter; and the higher recompense which these, the faithful and wise stewards, should then receive would be the being made rulers over all that the Lord hath. The answer of the Master then told Peter that all his followers, if found true and loyal, should receive the reward promised (in ver. 37) to the watching servants, who in the world to come would be not the servants but the friends of God. While the few, the chosen apostles of the Lord, if they endured to the end, if they were found wise and faithful, to them would be given in the new life a yet more glorious recompense; they would be set in some special position of government and dominion in the glorious city of God. This teaches, too, indirectly, but with great clearness, that in the heaven-life all Christ's redeemed will enjoy in the friendship of God a perfect blessedness. Still, in that perfect blessedness which will be the heritage of all the redeemed, there will still be degrees in glory. That faithful and wise steward

Lit., that faithful steward, the wise man.

Household (θεραπείας)

From its original meaning of waiting on, attendance (Luke 9:11), it comes to mean the retinue of attendants; the body of household servants.

Portion of meat (σιτομέτριον)

Lit., measure of food.

In due season

At the appointed time for distributing rations. See on Matthew 24:45.

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