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Luke 12:48 & meaning...

He 

who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

Luke 12:48

Context

Luke 12 [42.] The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful. That servant, who knew his lord’s will, and didn’t prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

Luke 12 [49.] “I came to throw fire on the earth. I wish it were already kindled. But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. For from now on, there will be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”


Meaning:

This verse is part of a larger passage where Jesus addresses the concept of accountability in light of the knowledge and resources entrusted to individuals. In essence, Jesus is conveying a principle of accountability that recognizes the varying degrees of responsibility based on knowledge and opportunities. 

  • Degrees of Accountability:

Knowledge and Action: The verse distinguishes between those who knew what was expected of them and acted accordingly and those who did not know. The former group, despite their knowledge, may still face consequences for their actions, but the severity is tempered compared to those who knowingly acted wrongly.

Fairness in Judgment: Jesus introduces a sense of fairness in judgment. The accountability is proportionate to the level of understanding and awareness. This underscores the just nature of God's judgment, taking into account individual circumstances.

  • Principle of Much Given, Much Required:

Stewardship and Responsibility: The principle "to whom much is given, of him will much be required" emphasizes the concept of stewardship. Those entrusted with more—whether in terms of knowledge, resources, or opportunities—bear a greater responsibility in using those blessings for the advancement of God's purposes.

Increased Expectations: The idea that "to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked" highlights the increased expectations placed on those who have been given more. It is a call to faithful stewardship and a recognition that greater blessings come with a corresponding increase in responsibility.


Practical Application:

Awareness and Responsibility: Luke 12:48 prompts believers to reflect on their awareness of God's expectations and the responsibilities that come with it. It encourages a conscious effort to align actions with the knowledge of God's will.

Gratitude and Stewardship: For those who have received much—whether in terms of spiritual insights, material resources, or opportunities—there is a call to gratitude and faithful stewardship. The emphasis is on using these blessings in a manner that aligns with God's purposes.


Cross-References:

Matthew 25:14-30: The Parable of the Talents in Matthew reinforces the concept of accountability and stewardship. The servants are entrusted with different amounts, and their accountability is based on how they utilized what was given to them.

James 4:17: "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." This verse aligns with the idea that knowledge brings a corresponding responsibility. Those who know what is right are accountable for their actions.


Conclusion: Luke 12:48 articulates a profound principle of accountability, recognizing that God's judgment takes into account the level of knowledge and resources entrusted to individuals. It challenges believers to be mindful of their responsibilities, emphasizing the fair and just nature of God's expectations. As we navigate the journey of faith, may we approach our responsibilities with a heart of stewardship, recognizing that to whom much is given, much is required.


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PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible