GOSPEL READING: Luke 12:35-38
35 “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!
Meditation: If the Lord Jesus knocked on your door today would you be ready and eager to receive him? He wants us to be prepared for his coming – today, tomorrow, at the hour of our departure from this life (our death), and when he comes again at the end of this present world to reward those who have believed in him – the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven who was sent to deliver us from sin and death. The Lord Jesus calls to us each and every day. He says, “Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together” (Revelations 3:20).
Be watchful and ready to serve the Lord when he calls
Jesus told his followers a parable from everyday life that illustrated the necessity of being prepared to open the door at once when the Master of the house knocks and calls for his servants to let him in. Doors in the ancient world were often bolted from the inside, especially at night, to keep out thieves and troublemakers. Servants who knew their master’s voice were expected to be vigilant and prepared to unbolt the door and let him in without a moment’s delay. This required a listening ear and attentive spirit that could block out other noises and distractions. If the servants refused to answer the door or delayed too long, they could expect a rebuke or punishment from the master.
The Lord and Master serves us
But Jesus’ story adds an unexpected reward for those who open at once – even in the middle of the night when everyone is fast asleep. The master who returns from a wedding feast to his home late at night does the unthinkable when his servants greet him at the door. He puts on a servant’s uniform and apron and seats his servants at his own table. And then – to their astonishment no doubt – the master himself waits on his servants at table by serving them his choice food and drink. Jesus’ parable turns the world’s way of thinking upside-down. The master rewards his faithful servants by serving them himself with the best provision, care, and service he can offer.
The Lord Jesus became a servant for our sake
This story illustrates the amazing generous spirit, servant-hearted love, and profound humility of God who is the exalted Lord and Master over all he has created. The Father sent his only begotten Son to become a man for our sake who shed his blood for us on the cross to save us from slavery to sin and Satan and victory over death through his resurrection power that gives us new abundant life in his Spirit. Paul the Apostle tells us that Jesus who was equal with the Father, nonetheless, humbled himself and became a servant for our sake (Philippians 2:5-8).
Do you listen for the voice of the Lord calling to you? And are you ready to receive him today so that you may be nourished with his life-giving word that has power to transform you into his likeness and way of steadfast love and merciful goodness? The Lord Jesus offers us rich food and provision for our daily lives. But we can miss his daily provision if we allow our hearts, minds, and ears to be distracted with other things – even good things that crowd out his voice and invitation to let him enter and feast with us.
The Lord loves faithfulness
Jesus’ parable also has an important lesson for each one of us as well. Just as Jesus was faithful and ready to obey his Father in everything – even to the point of laying down his life for us on the cross, we, too are called to be faithful and ready to do whatever our heavenly Father commands us. How can we serve as Jesus served and be faithful to the end of our days? Only love – the love which God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5) – can transform us and fill us with joy and courage in offering our lives in humble service to God and one another. The Lord Jesus sets us free from fear and pride so we can love and serve one another as he has loved and served each one of us (Ephesians 5:2). Ask the Lord to give you a servant heart and a willing spirit that is ready to listen and eager to obey.
Psalm 40:7-10, 16
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire; but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me;
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hid your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The true meaning of ‘loins girded and lamps burning’, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“The girding of our loins (Luke 12:25) signifies the readiness of the mind to work hard in every thing praiseworthy. Those who apply themselves to bodily labors and are engaged in strenuous toil have their loins girded. The lamp apparently represents the wakefulness of the mind and intellectual cheerfulness. We say that the human mind is awake when it repels any tendency to slumber off into that carelessness that often is the means of bringing it into subjection to every kind of wickedness. When sunk in stupor, the heavenly light within the mind is liable to be endangered, or even already is in danger from a violent and impetuous blast of wind. Christ commands us to be awake. To this, his disciple also arouses us by saying, ‘Be awake. Be watchful’ (1 Peter 5:8). Further on, the very wise Paul also says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead: and Christ shall give you light’ (Ephesians 5:14).” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 92)