Matthew 25:21
His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) I will make thee ruler over many things.—Better, I will set thee over many things. The word “ruler” is not in the Greek. Here again, as in Matthew 24:47, we have a glimpse given us into the future that lies behind the veil. So far as the parable brings before us prominently either the final judgment or that which follows upon each man’s death, we see that the reward of faithful work lies not in rest only, bat in enlarged activity. The world to come is thus connected by a law of continuity with that in which we live; and those who have so used their “talents” as to turn many to righteousness, may find new spheres of action, beyond all our dreams, in that world in which the ties of brotherhood that have been formed on earth are not extinguished, but, so we may reverently believe, multiplied and strengthened.

Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.—The words are almost too strong for the framework of the parable. A human master would hardly use such language to his slaves. But here, as yet more in the parable that follows, the reality breaks through the symbol, and we hear the voice of the divine Master speaking to His servants, and He bids them share His joy, for that joy also had its source (as He told them but a few hours later) in loyal and faithful service, in having “kept His Father’s commandments” (John 15:10-11).

Matthew 25:21. His lord said unto him, Well done — “The original word, Ευ, well done, has a peculiar force and energy, far beyond what we can express in English. It was used by auditors or spectators in any public exercise, to express the highest applause, when any part had been excellently performed.” — Doddridge. Good and faithful servant — Those that own and honour God now, he will own and confess hereafter, and their diligence and integrity will be found to praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1st, Their persons will be accepted. He that now knows their integrity will then bear witness to it; and they that are now found faithful, will then be declared to be Song of Solomon 2 d, Their performances will be accepted, Well done. Christ will call those, and those only, good servants, who have done well; for it is by a patient continuance in well doing that we seek for and obtain this glory and honour: and it is on condition of our doing that which is good, that we shall have praise of the same. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler, &c. — It is usual, in the courts of princes and families of great men, to advance those to higher offices who have been faithful in lower. Christ is a master that will prefer his servants who acquit themselves well. He has honour in store for those that honour him, — a crown, a throne, a kingdom. Here they are beggars: in heaven they shall be rulers and princes. Observe, reader, the disproportion between the work and the rewards. There are but few things in which the saints are serviceable to the glory of God, but many things wherein they shall be glorified with God. The charge we receive from God, the work we do for God in this world, is but little, very little, compared with the joy set before us: put together all our services, all our sufferings, all our improvements, all the good we do to others, all we obtain to ourselves, and they are but a few things, next to nothing, not fit to be named the same day with the glory to be revealed. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord — The joy which he himself has purchased and provided for his servants; the joy of the redeemed, bought with the sorrow of the Redeemer; the joy which he himself is in possession of, and which he had his eye upon when he endured the cross and despised the shame, Hebrews 12:2; the joy of which he himself is the fountain and centre; for it is joy in the Lord, who is our exceeding joy. Into this joy glorified saints shall enter, that is, shall have a full and complete possession of it; as the heir, when he comes to age, enters upon his estate. Here the joy of our Lord enters into the saints, in the earnest of the Spirit, but shortly they shall enter into it, and shall be in it to all eternity, possessing fulness of joy and unspeakable pleasures for evermore.25:14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.Ruler over many things - I will promote thee to greater honors and to more important trusts.

Joy of thy lord - In the meantime share the pleasures and enjoyments of his palace; be his companion, and receive the rewards which he has promised thee. "The joy of his lord" may mean either the festivals and rejoicings at his return, or the rewards which his lord had prepared for his faithful servants. Applied to Christians, it means that they who rightly improve their talents will, at the return of Christ, be promoted to great honors in heaven, and be partakers of the joys of their Lord in the world of glory. See Matthew 25:34; also 1 John 2:28.

21. His lord said unto him, Well done—a single word, not of bare satisfaction, but of warm and delighted commendation. And from what Lips!

thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, &c.

See Poole on "Matthew 25:23". His Lord said unto him, well done,.... Gospel ministers do not say so to themselves; they know they can do nothing well of themselves, and when they have done all they can, they own they are but unprofitable servants; they acknowledge all they do is owing to the grace of God, and strength of Christ, and that no praise is due to them; nor do they expect or seek for such eulogies from men: but this is said, to show how acceptable a diligent laborious ministry is to Christ, and to encourage industry in the preachers of the word, whose works will follow them, though not go before them:

thou good and faithful servant: such may be said to be good, who have the grace of God implanted in them, some good thing in them towards the Lord God; a good work begun in their hearts, without which men can never be good ministers of Christ; and who have good abilities, not only natural and acquired parts, but ministerial gifts; which are the good things committed to them, and that dwell in them, which they are to keep by the Holy Ghost; and who make a good use of them, and freely communicate and impart their spiritual gifts, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; and who being employed in a good work, as that of the ministry is, do it well, and abide in it: and such may be said to be "faithful", who preach the pure Gospel of Christ, and the whole of it; who neither mix it with the inventions of men, nor keep back any part of it from the saints; who seek not to please men, but their Lord and Master; and not their own honour and applause, but his glory; and who abide by him and his cause, notwithstanding all reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions. In such language as this, the Jews used to praise their servants,

   "O man! good and faithful", and from whose labour one had (x) profit.

Thou hast been faithful over a few things: not as considered in themselves; for the truths of the Gospel which ministers are intrusted with, and in which they are faithful, are neither few, nor inconsiderable; they are the manifold grace of God, and the unsearchable riches of Christ: nor are their gifts mean and despicable; nor are their labours worthless, and of no account; but in comparison of the unseen and eternal things of glory, which are prepared and laid up for them; so that there is no proportion between their works, and the glory that shall be revealed in them:

I will make thee ruler over many things; either on earth, where they shall reign with Christ a thousand years; and when the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of it, will be given to the saints of the Most High; and when they who have turned many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars in that kingdom: or else in heaven, where as kings, they shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them, sit down with Christ in his throne, and wear the never fading crown of glory, life, and righteousness,

enter thou into the joy of our Lord; not their own, or what was of their own procuring, but their Lord's; which Jehovah the Father has prepared for his people, and gives unto them; which the son possesses for them, and will bestow on them; and which the Holy Spirit makes them meet for; and which will chiefly lie in the enjoyment of Christ their Lord: this happiness of theirs is expressed by "joy", which will be full and perfect, and without any interruption or mixture; will be unspeakable and glorious, and continue for ever; for when the saints shall enter into it, as into an house or mansion, they shall take possession of it, and abide in it for ever. It was usual with the Jews to express the, happiness of the world to come by "joy"; not only that which is from the Lord, but that with which he himself rejoices with his people: for they say (y),

"there is no joy before, or in the presence of the holy blessed God, since the world was created, , "like that joy", with which he will rejoice with the righteous, in the world to come.

(x) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 16. 2.((y) Midrash Haneelam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 69. 4.

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: {d} enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

(d) Come and receive the fruit of my goodness: now the Lord's joy is doubled; see Joh 15:11: that my joy may remain in you, and your joy be fulfilled.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 25:21. εὖ, well done! excellent! = εὖγε in classics, which is the approved reading in Luke 19:17. Meyer takes it as an adverb, qualifying πιστός, but standing in so emphatic a position at the head of the sentence and so far from the word it is supposed to qualify it inevitably has the force of an interjection—ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, devoted and faithful: two prime virtues in the circumstances. On the sense of ἀγαθός, vide Matthew 20:15.—ἐπὶ π. σε καταστήσω, I will set thee over many things. The master means to make extensive use of the talents and energy of one who had shown himself so enthusiastic and trustworthy in a limited sphere.—εἴσελθε ε. τ. χαρὰν τ. κ. σ. This clause seems to be epexegetical of the previous one, or to express the same idea under a different form. χαρά has often been taken as referring to a feast given on the occasion of the master’s return (so De Wette, Trench, etc.). Others (Reuss, Meyer, Weiss, Speaker’s Com.) take it more generally as denoting the master’s state of joy. Thus viewed, the word takes us into the spiritual sphere, the joy of the Lord having nothing in common with the affairs of the bank (Reuss, Hist. Ev.). Weiss thinks this second description of the reward proceeds from the evangelist interpreting the parable allegorically of Messiah’s return. But we escape this inference if we take the phrase “the joy of thy lord” as = the joy of lordship (herilis gaudii, Grotius, and Elsner after him). The faithful slave is to be rewarded by admission to fellowship in possession, partnership. Cf. μέτοχοι τοῦ χριστοῦ in Hebrews 3:14 = sharers (“fellows”) with Christ, not merely “partakers of Christ”.21. ruler over many things] The privileges of heaven shall be in proportion to the services wrought on earth.

enter thou into the joy of thy lord] Either (1) share the life of happiness which thy lord enjoys, and which shall be the reward of thy zeal; or (2) the joyous feast; as in the last parable; cp. also Esther 9:18-19. (See especially the LXX. version).Matthew 25:21. Εὖ, well-done) A formula of praising. This praise is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 4:5.—ἀγαθὲ, good) opposed to πονηρὲ, [1090][1091][1092], in Matthew 25:26.—πιστὲ, faithful) opposed to ὀκνηρὲ, slothful, in Matthew 25:26. Faith drives away sloth.—ὀλίγα, few) If five talents are few, how great will be the amount of the πολλὰ, many!καταστἠσω, I will appoint) Thou art fit for more, thou art trusty (frugi), opposed to ἀχρεῖον, unprofitable, in Matthew 25:30.—εἴσελθε, enter thou!) opposed to ἐκβάλετε, cast ye forth, in Matthew 25:30.—χαρὰν, joy) sc. the banquet, the feast:[1093] light, laughter, applause. Cf. Matthew 25:30.

[1090] Veronensis, do.

[1091] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[1092] Cantabrigiensis, do.: the Gospels, Acts , , 3 d Ep. John.

[1093] In the original the passage stands thus:—

“Convivium, festin: lusum, risum, plausum;” where the introduction of the French word FESTIN strikes one as strange.—(I. B.)Verse 21. - Well done (εϋ), thou good and faithful servant. He is praised, not for success, but for being "good," i.e. kind and merciful and honest in exercising the trust for others' benefit; and "faithful," true to his master's interests, not idle or inactive, but keeping one object always before him, steadily aiming at fidelity. Some regard the words as a commendation of the servant's works and faith, but this is not the primary meaning according to the context. Over a few things. The sum entrusted to him was considerable in itself, but little compared with the riches of his lord, and little in comparison of the reward bestowed upon him. The Greek here is ἐπὶ ὀλίγα, the accusative case denoting "extending over," or "as regards." I will make thee ruler (σε καταστήσω, I will set thee, Matthew 24:45) over many things; ἐπὶ πολλῶν, the genitive implying fixed authority over. From being a slave he is raised to the position of master. He is treated according to the principle in Luke 16:10, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." The spiritual import of this reward is hard to understand, if it is wished to assign to it a definite meaning. It seems to intimate that in the other world Christ's most honoured and faithful followers will have some special work to do for him in guiding and ruling the Church (see on Matthew 19:28; and comp. Luke 19:17, etc.). Enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Here is seen a marked contrast between the hard life of the slave and the happiness of the master. Literalists find here only a suggestion that the lord invites the servant to attend the feast by which his return home was celebrated. Certainly, the word translated "joy" (χαρὰ) may possibly be rendered "feast," as the LXX. translate mishteh in Esther 9:17, and a slave's elevation to his master's table would imply or involve his manumission. On the earthly side of the transaction, this and his extended and more dignified office would be sufficient reward for his fidelity. The spiritual signification of the sentence has been variously interpreted. Some find in it only an explanation of the former part of the award, "I will make thee ruler over many things," conveying no further accession of beatitude. But surely this is an inadequate conception of the guerdon. There are plainly two parts to this. One is advancement to more important position; the second is participation in the fulness of joy which the Lord's presence ensures (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 21:6), which, possessed entirely by himself, he communicates to his faithful. This comprises all blessedness. And it is noted that the joy is not said to enter into us. That indeed, though a blessing unspeakable, would be an inferior boon, as Augustine says; but we enter into the joy, when it is not measured by our capacity for receiving it, but absorbs us, envelops us, becomes our atmosphere, our life. Commentators quote Leighton's beautiful remark, "It is but little that we can receive here, some drops of joy that enter into us; but there we shall enter into joy, as vessels put into a sea of happiness."
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