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Posts tagged ‘Talent or gifts’

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:20: And he who had received five talents

“ First the slave with five talents approached and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents; see here, I have gained five more.’” (Mt 25:20 mhm)

See Calvin_Bible 05068

20. And he who had received five talents.

Those who employ usefully whatever God has committed to them are said to be engaged in trading. The life of the godly, {1 } is justly compared to trading, for they ought naturally to exchange and barter with each other, in order to maintain intercourse; and the industry with which every mall discharges the office assigned him, the calling itself, the power of acting properly, and other gifts, are reckoned to be so many kinds of merchandise; because the use or object which they have in view is, to promote mutual intercourse among men.

Now the gain which Christ mentions is general usefulness, {2 } which illustrates the glory of God. For, though God is not enriched, and makes no gain, by our labors, yet when every one is highly profitable to his brethren, and applies advantageously, for their salvation, the gifts which he has received from God, he is said to yield profit, or gain, to God himself. So highly does our heavenly Father value the salvation of men, that whatever contributes to it he chooses to place to his own account. That we may not become weary in doing well, (#Ga 6:9), Christ declares that the labor of those who are faithfully employed in their calling will not be useless.

According to Luke, he says that he who gained five pounds obtains the government of five cities; by which words he informs them, that the glory of his kingdom will be very different at his last coming from what it now appears. For now {3 } we have labor and anxiety in managing, as it were, the affairs of an absent master; but then he will have at his command an ample and copious supply of honors, to ennoble and enrich us. The form of expression employed by Matthew is more simple, Enter thou into the joy of thy master; by which he means that faithful servants, whose discharge of duty shall meet with his approbation, will share with himself a blessed abundance of all good things.

But it is asked, What is meant by what is added, Take from him the talent, and give it to him who hath ten talents? For every kind of trading will then be at an end.
I reply, We ought to keep in remembrance what I formerly mentioned, that those who insist on explaining, with exactness, every minute phrase, are mistaken. The true meaning is, though slothful and unprofitable servants are now endued with the gifts of the Spirit, yet they will at length be deprived of them all, that their wretched and shameful poverty may redound to the glory of the good. Now these slothful persons, Christ tells us, hide either the talent or the pound in the earth; because, while they consult their own ease and gratifications, they refuse to submit to any uneasiness; as we see very many who, while they are privately devoted to themselves and to their own advantage, avoid all the duties of charity, and have no regard to the general edification. When it is said that the master of the house, after his return, called the servants to account; as this ought to impart courage to the good, when they understand that they do not lose their pains, so the indolent and careless, on the other hand, ought to be struck with no small terror. Let us therefore learn to call ourselves daily to account, before the Lord come, and make a reckoning with us.

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{1 } “Des fideles”;  — ” of believers.”

{2 } “C’est le profit ou l’avancement de toute la compagnie des fideles en commun”;  — ” it is the profit or advancement of the whole company of believers in common.”

{3 } “En ce monde”;  — ” in this world.”

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Preceding

Calvin looking at Matthew 25:1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:15: To every one according to his own ability

Calvin looking at c1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Then shall the kingdom of heaven.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.
(Mat 25:1 CEV)

By this term is meant the condition of the future Church, which was to be collected by the authority and direction of Christ. He employs this remarkable title, that believers may not deceive themselves by an erroneous opinion that they have arrived at absolute perfection.

The parable is borrowed from the ordinary custom of life; for it was a childish speculation of Jerome and others, to adduce this passage in praise of virginity; while Christ had no other object in view than to lessen the uneasiness which they might be apt to feel in consequence of the delay of his coming. He says, therefore, that he asks nothing more from us than is usually done for friends at a marriage-feast. The custom was, that virgins, who are tender and delicate — should, by way of respect, accompany the bridegroom to his chamber. But the general instruction of the parable consists in this, that it is not enough to have been once ready and prepared for the discharge of duty, if we do not persevere to the end.

Five were wise.

Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise.
(Mat 25:2 CEV)

Towards the close of the former chapter, our Lord specially required steward to be wise, (Mt 24:45) for it is reasonable, that the heavier the charge which any man sustains, and the more important the matters in which he is employed, the wisdom with which he conducts himself should be the greater. But now he demands wisdom from all the children of God in general, that they may not, through inconsiderate rashness, expose themselves to be the prey of Satan. Now this kind of wisdom he describes by saying, that they are to provide themselves with the supplies necessary for completing the course of their life. For the warmth of our impatience makes us look upon the time, however short, as far too long protracted; and next, our poverty is such, that we need supplies for every hour.

Drowsy girls who fell asleep

The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Mat 25:5 CEV)

And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Some interpret this slumbering in a bad sense, as if believers, along with others, abandoned themselves to sloth, and were asleep amidst the vanities of the world; but this is altogether inconsistent with the intention of Christ, and with the structure of the parable. There would be greater probability in explaining it to denote death, which overtakes believers before the coming of Christ; for it is not at that time only that we must look for salvation, but also when we have left the world and are sleeping in Christ. (Ed. note: Note how Calvin is talking about “sleeping in Christ” and also does not seem to believe some separate being or soul would go straight to heaven or hell. Here he gives the impression he also believes it is only later that the living and the dead will be called in front of the judgement seat of Christ.  See “A Cry arose”))

But I take it more simply as denoting earthly occupations, in which believers must be engaged, so long as they dwell in the body; and, though forgetfulness of the kingdom of God ought never to steal upon them, yet the distracting influence of the occupations of this world is not inappropriately compared to sleep. For they cannot be so constantly occupied with the thought of meeting Christ, as not to be distracted, or retarded, or entangled by a variety of cares, in consequence of which, while they watch, they are partly asleep.

A cry arose

Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”
(Mat 25:6 CEV)

At midnight a cry arose. With respect to the cry I view it as taken metaphorically for his sudden arrival; for we know, that when any thing new and unexpected happens, men are wont to make a loud noise. True, indeed, our Lord cries daily, that he will come quickly,(Re 22:20); but at that, time, the whole frame of the world will resound with the cry, and his dreadful majesty will fill heaven and earth in such a manner, as not only to awaken those who are asleep, but to bring the dead out of their graves, (Joh 5:28).

Late repentance

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
(Mat 25:8 CEV)

And the foolish said to the wise. This is a reproof of the late repentance of those who never think of what they are in want of, till the door is shut against every remedy.

For those who do not make provision for a long period are charged with folly, because they are careless, and flatter themselves amidst their poverty, and allow the season of mutual intercourse to pass in such a way as to despise the aids which were offered to them. As they do not, in proper time, bethink themselves about procuring oil, Christ, mocking the knowledge which they have acquired when it is too late, shows how their stupidity will be punished, when they shall see themselves to be empty and unprovided, while there is no remedy.

Distributed gifts

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.” The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
(Mat 25:8-9 CEV)

Lest there be not enough for you and us.

We know that the Lord distributes his gifts so variously to each, according to his measure, in order that they may give mutual aid to each other, and may employ for the general advantage what has been entrusted to each individual; and that in this way is preserved the sacred connection which exists among the members of the Church. But Christ here points out the time when he shall summon all men to his tribunal, each carrying his bundle, that he may bring with him according as he has done in his body. That portion of grace received, which every man has laid up for himself, is, therefore, justly compared to a stock of provisions for a journey, which would not be enough for a greater number of persons.

But rather go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

These words immediately follow, and are not intended as an admonition, but a reproof; and the meaning is:

“There once was a time for buying, which you ought not to have neglected; for oil was at that time offered for sale, but the means of obtaining it are now withdrawn.”

And yet it is foolish in the Papists to infer from this, that by our own virtues or industry we obtain the gift of perseverance. For the word buy does not at all imply that a price has been given; as appears clearly from the passage in Isaiah, (55:1) where the Lord, while he invites us to buy, demands no price, but informs us, that he has wine and milk in abundance, to be gratuitously bestowed. There is no other way of obtaining it, therefore, but to receive by faith what is offered to us.

The door was shut.

While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed.
(Mat 25:10 CEV)

At length it follows that the door of the heavenly kingdom will be shut against all who have not made provision, because they failed in the middle of the course. We must not enter here into minute inquiries, how it is that Christ says that the foolish virgins went to buy for it means nothing else than that all who shall not be ready at the very moment when they shall be called will be shut out from entering into heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 24:42-51 – Stay Awake!

|| Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

MT24:42 “So, continue to remain awake[1] because none of you has any idea[2] on what kind of day[3] your Master is arriving.[4] {LK21:34 But, pay attention to yourselves[5] that somehow your hearts become heavy[6] because of overeating, drunkenness, and anxieties[7] LK21:35 and suddenly that Day rise as a snare![8] For that Day will come upon everyone who lives on the surface of the whole earth.[9] LK21:36 Keep awake and all the time begging [God] so you might be strong enough to escape[10] everything about to occur and to stand before the Son of Humankind.[11]} MT24:43 But, know this that if the household had known[12] in what watch the thief arrived[13] he would have stayed awake and his house would not be ransacked. MT24:44 You also prove yourselves ready[14] because in an hour you are not expecting[15] the Son of Humankind is coming.[16] {MK13:34 It is like a man[17] leaving his own House and giving authority to his people, to each one his own duties,[18] commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. MK13:35 So, you stay awake, for when the Master of the House is coming you do not know. Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn.[19] MK13:36 Or, the Master of the House, having arrived suddenly,[20] might find you sleeping.[21] MK13:37 But, what I say to you, I say to all:[22] Stay awake!} MT24:45 Really, who is the faithful and discreet slave[23] whom his Master appointed over the Master’s own domestics[24] to give them food at an appointed time?[25] MT24:46 Happy is that slave, when his Master arrives,[26] finds him doing so. MT24:47 I tell you this truth: the Master will appoint him[27] over all his belongings. MT24:48 But, if ever that bad slave[28] says in his heart: ‘My Master is taking his time!’[29] MT24:49 and he should start beating his fellow slaves[30] and eat and drink[31] with the drunkards MT24:50 the Master will arrive[32] in that day he is not expecting and in an hour[33] he is not knowing MT24:51 and the Master will cut him asunder[34] and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!”

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[1] Continue to remain awake: Or, watch therefore [KJV], keep awake [NEB], be watching [BAS], be on the alert [WEY].

[2] Has any idea: Or, ye know not [KJV], you do not know [NEB]. Compare Matthew 24:6 and Acts 1:7.

[3] What kind of day: Or, what hour [KJV], on what day [ASV], what sort of [KIT], on what day [BAS], in what hour [DAR]. It is possible the phrase means what time of the day as well. Compare Mark 13:35.

[4] Your Master is arriving: Or, doth come [KJV], your Lord will come [BAS], is coming [KIT]. The Greek is ERKHETAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064], used both of persons arriving and of those returning, and may, according to context be rendered “returning.” The word is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA used elsewhere in Matthew 24 but never in Mark 13 and Luke 21.

[5] Pay attention to yourselves: Now the Nazarene concludes with directions to remain awake and alert. In Mark and Luke the teachings end here but in Matthew chapter 25 a series of parables are given outlining two groups: the faithful and unfaithful or the righteous and unrighteous.

[6] Heavy: Or, weighed down. RSV, NIV KJV: overcharged with surfeiting; LB: living in careless ease; PME: clouded with dissipation; TEV: occupied with; JB: coarsened; NEB: minds be dulled.

[7] Anxieties: If we parallel this phrase with the attitude before the Flood, ‘eating and drinking and marrying and building and selling,’ then the Nazarene is warning about taking on that characteristic of those “who took no note.” These anxieties, or being overly concerned about life and livelihood, could involve marriage, commerce and construction (Luke 17:28). The Nazarene has not changed his attitude about being distracted by daily pursuits as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34). What is the difference here with those who were working in the fields or mill and yet who were “taken along”? It is a matter of the heart’s focus and expectation. The man in the field and the woman at the mill have not lost their hope in the Parousia and judging from the parable of the sheep and goats, both are kind and good human beings who have never neglected even the humblest person (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

[8] Suddenly that Day rise as a snare: “That day” is no generational period as if one had a warning lasting more than 40, 80, or more years. The parousia comes suddenly and at a time not expected even by the Chosen Ones (Matthew 24:42, 44).

[9] On the surface of the whole earth: Does it not appear to be a global event?

[10] Escape: Compare the JPS Tanakh at Daniel 12:1 and the word “escape.” The Aramaic of Daniel 12:1 may be rendered “escape” or “rescued” (delivered). Compare the idea of “rescue” with the “snatching” or Rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the call “Come out!” at Revelation 18:4.

[11] Stand before the Son of Humankind: Compare 1 John 2:28 and 4:17 with 2 Corinthians 5:10. Those professing “Jesus is Lord!” will rise in the parousia-Judgment and receive their award or payment for what they did in their Christian lives, good or vile (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). They will then, before the Judgment of Christ, be “outspoken” or “ashamed.” (1 John 2:28; 4:17)

[12] If the household had known: The realm of the professing Christians (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15).

[13] In what watch the thief arrived: Christ’s sudden appearance as the Master of the House is thief-like (Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). If a Christian prophet were able to calculate some time chronology and thus the “day and hour” of the Lord’s Arrival or parousia and it would no longer be like a thief in its suddenness.

[14] Prove yourselves ready: How does a Christian do this? Expectation is a matter of the heart and thus a matter of faith. Real faith will manifest itself in some speech and action. It is not manifest in being preoccupied with the daily matters like those persons before the Flood. Since the return of Christ is unknown it follows that Christians of all periods must be ready by a) regular prayer; b) faith; c) charity to fellows; d) avoidance of over-eating, drunkenness, and anxieties over livelihood.

[15] In an hour you are not expecting: Thus no Christian can work out some prophetic time-chronology to calculate this “coming” or Arrival (Luke 21:8; Acts 1:7).

[16] The Son of Humankind is coming: This is a phrase which parallels or stands as a synonym for ‘presence of the Son of Man.’ The Greek is ERKHETAI and equals PAROUSIA.

[17] Like a man: The parable illustrates the departure of the “man” Christ who charges his disciples to remain at work.

[18] To each one his own duties: These vary with the ‘talent’ or responsibility of each one as other parables teach: 5, 3, or 1. Paul outlines these varied “gifts” in 1 Corinthians ch 12; Romans ch 12 (Note Ephesians 4:16).

[19] Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn: If the parousia were a generational period then it would be absurd to pinpoint these moments in a day or night. The Return of Christ or Arrival of the Lord is within a moment occupied by the brief period of a day’s various watches.

[20] Having arrived suddenly: “Arrived” is a synonym for PAROUSIA or “presence” in the Gospels. “Come” can also be a synonym (Revelation 2:25; 3:3).

[21] Sleeping: Note 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:1, 2, 6-8.

[22] I say to all: The Nazarene not only speaks to the four disciples before him but “all” those who will become disciples in future generations (John 17:20).

[23] Who is the faithful and discreet slave: This is a rhetorical question the Nazarene raises for the second time in his ministry. It is best understood by comparing the earlier account in a more expanded version at Luke 12:40-42. Judging from the context of Luke ch 12 it may be limited to the Apostles but at the same time have some personal application to any individual Christian “slave.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

[24] Domestics: Or, household (KJV, LB, PME, RSV, JB); other servants (TEV, NIV); household staff (NEB). That is, the live in help. The Slave is charged with feeding the “domestics” or fellow Saints in the Household of God. In Luke 12:42 this is THERAPEIAS or “therapists.” The Apostles, as the Faithful Slave, were found literally caring for food distribution in Acts chapters 2 to 6. Matthew 24:46 says, ‘Happy that slave if his Lord finds him doing so when he arrives.’

[25] To give them food at an appointed time: This is often given a spiritual application without the context indicating this. The facts are, the Faithful Slave, the Apostles, are found caring for “food distribution” in Acts chs 2 to 6.

[26] Arrives: The Parousia of Christ or the Master’s “coming.”

[27] The Master will appoint him: make him ruler. The final appointment as king, judge, and priest (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4, 6).

[28] Bad slave: In the four parables concluding the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question there are: 1) a faithful and bad slave; 2) five wise and five foolish virgins; 3) slaves with five, three, and one talent; and, 4) the sheep and goats. All deal with the “arrival” (presence) of a master, bridegroom, a nobleman (Luke 19:13-26), and, a judge.

[29] My Master is taking his time: Unfortunately the phrase “the delay of the parousia” has become a catch phrase among theological scholars when discussing what they perceive as Jesus’ failed prophecy regarding an imminent parousia.

[30] Beating his fellow slaves: Among the “oppressive wolves” who do not treat the flock with “tenderness.” (Acts 20:29-30)

[31] Eat and drink: Back to the parallel with Noah’s day.

[32] The Master will arrive: The parousia. The word group “arrive” in the context of the “coming” of Christ is used several times as a synonym for PAROUSIA (Matthew 10:23; 25:10, 31; Mark 8:38; 13:36; Luke 9:26; 12:38; 18:8; 22:18).

[33] In an hour: This is no generational period of time but the “hour” of the parousia within a certain “day.” The Nazarene uses the word “hour” over a half dozen times in the context of his parousia (Matthew 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:39, 40, 46).

[34] The Master will cut him asunder: Or, to bisect; cut in two. A severe treatment similar to Luke 12:46 and Matthew 25:46.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment

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Additional reading

  1. You know neither the day nor the hour
  2. Only once and with consequences
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  4. To be prepared and very well oiled

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