Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Many Christian camps and churches teach a dangerous song.
It is dangerous because it is a prayer that might come true.
It begins, Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.
That's exactly what is happening in Matthew chapter 25.
Back in chapter 16, Jesus asked his disciples, who do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."...
Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem
and undergo great suffering...and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
When Jesus begins opening their eyes, Peter doesn't like what he sees.
Now, nine long chapters later, in Jerusalem on the doorstep of disaster, Jesus
continues clarifying their view.
Last week we learned he is a bridegroom who shows up late and doesn't open the door to
those who worry more about having oil than welcoming him.
Next week, he will be a king hidden among the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the sick,
the naked, and the incarcerated.
And this week, Jesus is a jerk.
Perhaps we have heard this parable too many times, especially in stewardship sermons to
American capitalists, to really hear it and open our eyes to see and feel its scandal.
The third slave, who is the only morally acceptable figure in the whole story, identifies
the problem: Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did
not sow...so I was afraid.
The master—Lord in Greek, which is exactly how the Bridegroom and the King are also
addressed—is a thief, which is how Jesus has been describing the Son of Man,
and exactly how he will soon appear on the cross.
Richard Rohrbaugh and Bruce Malina explain:
In the "limited good" world of the [Mediterranean] peasant, seeking "more" was
always morally wrong.
Because the pie (of all good and goods) was both "limited" and already all distributed,
an increase in the share of one person automatically meant a loss for someone
Honorable people, therefore, did not try to get more of anything, and those who did were
automatically considered thieves.
Anyone with eight talents to throw around—eighty thousand times the average daily
wage—is so obviously suspect that from the beginning he cannot be trusted.
He doles out a few of his billions very unequally and then leaves on a long journey,
which itself is also suspicious activity.
Two of his slaves are just as ruthless and rapacious as he is, doubling his extravagant