Be a good servant
41 Peter asked Jesus, ‘Master, are you only telling this story to us, your disciples? Or is this story for everyone to hear?’
42 Jesus replied, ‘Be a wise servant. Be someone that the master can trust. The master will choose a man like that. He will say to him, “I want you to rule my house and the other servants. Give them the food that they need at the right time.” 43 That servant will be very happy when his master comes home. His master will see that he has done everything well. 44 Let me tell you what will happen. The master will give that servant authority to rule over everything in his house. 45 But another servant might say to himself, “My master is very late. He will not come yet.” Then he begins to hit the other servants, both the men and the women. He eats too much, and he drinks too much. He even becomes drunk. 46 Then the master of that servant will come home and he will surprise the servant. He did not think that his master would come home on that day or at that time. Then the master will punish that servant a lot. He will put the servant with those people that do not obey him.
47 A servant may know what his master wants him to do. Then he should prepare himself and do that. If he does not, his master will punish him very much. He will hit him a lot. 48 But another servant perhaps does not know what his master wants him to do. So he does wrong things. The master will punish him because he did those wrong things. But he will not hit him as much. If God gives a lot to somebody, he will want a lot back in return. And God will want much more from the person to whom he has given authority over much more.
49 I came to start a fire on earth. I would be happy if that fire were already burning. 50 I have a baptism of pain to receive. I cannot rest until this has happened.
12:50Jesus is using pictures to tell them about future events. The fire means the time when God will judge bad people. The baptism means the pain that Jesus will have. A time will soon come when he feels much pain. He will have this pain when he dies. It will be like going under the water in baptism.
51 I did not come into the world so that everyone will agree with each other. No, I tell you. I came to put people against one another. 52 From now on, because of me, five people in a family will be against each other. Two people will be against the other three. Three of them will be against the other two. 53 They will not agree together. The father will be against his son and the son will be against his father. The mother will be against her daughter and the daughter will be against her mother. The mother will be against her son's wife. And the son's wife will be against her husband's mother.’
12:53Some people in a family will obey God. Some will not. Some people will not like those that obey Jesus.
54 Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘If you see a cloud that is rising in the west, immediately you say, “It will rain.” And the rain does come. 55 Sometimes you see that the south wind is blowing. So you say, “It will be very hot weather.” And the hot weather does come. 56 You are hypocrites! You look at the earth and the sky, and you know what weather will come. So look at the special things that are happening near you now. They show you what will soon happen. But you do not understand what they are showing you. Why not?
12:56The things that were happening were showing something. They showed that Jesus was the Messiah. He would soon die.
57 You should know what is right. And you should do it. 58 This may happen to you: Someone says, “You have done something wrong against me.” So he takes hold of you to go to the judge. Before you arrive at the office of the judge, try to agree with this man how to make things right again. If you do not agree together about the problem, it may be bad for you. The judge will give you to his officer. The officer will put you in prison. 59 I tell you. You will remain in prison until you have paid all the money, even the last small coin.’
12:58A judge listens to what people say against each other. He then decides who is right or wrong.
12:59Jesus is telling the people that everyone is in debt to God. They do not obey him as they should. Jesus says that we should agree with God now. And we should do something about our debt. If we do not, God will be our judge. He will punish us when we stand in front of him.