Faithful and Wise Servant
(Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants)


Faithful and Wise Servant: Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48


The parable of the faithful and wise servant, also called the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants, is told by Jesus to illustrate the seriousness of being ready for Jesus' return by truly acting like a Christian.

Context of the Parable


In context, Jesus has just been discussing the fact that he will be returning at an unexpected time. For this reason, he urges his audience to be ready and watchful for his return.

In order to further illustrate the seriousness of his return, he tells his disciples the parable of the faithful and wise servant.

This parable is also sometimes called the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants due to the contrast between the faithful and wise servant versus the unfaithful servant who is placed with the unbelievers because of his actions.


Summary of the Faithful and Wise Servant


Jesus says, "Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions." (Matthew 24:46-47 and Luke 12:43-44)


However, Jesus then immediately warns them about the unfaithful servant.

He says that if the servant says to himself "My master is delayed" (Matthew 24:48; Luke 12:45), and thus begins to mistreat his fellow slaves and drink (instead of working), then: "the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:50-51)

In Matthew, it says that this evil servant is placed with the "hypocrites" (Matthew 24:51) and in Luke it says with the "unbelievers" (Luke 12:46).


Jesus also says, "That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating." (Luke 12:47-48)


Meaning of the Faithful and Wise Servant


Jesus is teaching his disciples that our Actions Reveal What We Truly Believe. Those who are obeying God will be rewarded, whereas those who disobey God (even if they say they belong to him) prove themselves to be unfaithful and hypocrites by their actions.

It is just as Paul says in Titus 1:16, "They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions."

Jesus also teaches that those who know what is right and choose to do wrong will be punished more harshly than those who do not know. However, both groups are punished, and ultimately it's better to know and obey.


There are several other parables that communicate this idea that it is necessary to obey God and that we show what we believe by what we do:

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders


Parable of the Two Sons


Parable of the Wedding Banquet


Parable of the Sheep and Goats

To better understand the connection between our actions and our belief, read about the Meaning of Repentance and Salvation.

Another good article from AbideInChrist.info, is Can We Obey the Laws and Commandments of God?


For a 40 day devotional of an in-depth study of all Jesus' parables, view the convenient eBook Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ.

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Understanding the 40 Parables of Jesus Christ takes the approach of understanding Jesus' parables by examining the genre, scriptural context, and historical culture.

The goal of this approach is to "reveal" theology from the Bible, as opposed to trying to find verses to support a belief. This is the difference between letting the Bible tell us what is true, versus us trying to find evidence for what we want to believe. When we allow the Bible to teach us what to believe, we can better set aside our own biases and become more receptive to God's truths.

This book lists all the parables of Jesus Christ, including supplemental information necessary for understanding them. Each parable has a summary of what is being said, along with the meaning Jesus Christ is teaching.

Some of the questions that this book will answer include: 

  • Why does Jesus speak in parables?
  • What is the meaning of the "talents" in the talents/pounds parable?
  • What is the real focus of the prodigal son?
  • What did Jesus mean by treasures new and old?
  • Who is the man without a wedding robe in the wedding banquet parable?
  • Why is the dishonest manager praised for his shrewdness?
  • What does Jesus really mean by counting the costs?

The answers to these questions, and more, are answered by carefully examining the contextual and historical evidence. Also included is a chapter revealing scriptural evidence that proves that Jesus Christ is God, as well as important supplementary material for understanding these parables.

Kindle | Kobo | Nook

PDF/Paypal PDF works for all eReaders, including iBooks. (No Paypal account needed, simply select the "Pay with a debit or credit card" option.)

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