Why does a servant of Christ receive any punishment?

“And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:47-48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My question is rather simple but I have been wrestling with it for a long time. Why do servants of Jesus receive any beating at all? I am probably missing something huge in the text but thank you very much.


@Daniel.S Great question :slight_smile: I do not think that Jesus is here describing His own followers. In Jesus’ teaching, the leaders of the nation of Israel itself, who received the very promises of God, are often portrayed as stewards who rejected God’s prophets and now are rejecting Messiah Himself. Elsewhere, Jesus says that those who have heard His teaching are held accountable in a way above and beyond those who had not, just as those who received the law of God were held more accountable than those who did not.

In one sense, as it says in Romans 1, we are all held accountable because the law of God is written on the human heart. But there is a higher degree of accountability for those who have received more revelation / knowledge of God.

John 15:20-25 - Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

The general principles I believe we can take away from this passage are:

  • those with greater knowledge of God are held more accountable
  • we should steward the Gospel by obeying Christ and sharing His truth

Ok yes I see thank you so much brother

1 Like

Hello Daniel
I think the difficulty you are having is due to a misconception concerning this idea. God has not, and is not punishing anyone, yet. SeanO more correctly addressed the concept as hardship, and Jesus did indeed tell us to expect just that, if we follow Him.
I would draw your attention to Matthew 21:42-44: Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, this One has become the head of the corner; this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” Therefore I say to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing out its fruits. And he who falls on this Stone shall be broken, but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Jesus described Himself as the Chief Cornerstone, who accomplished what the “chosen people of God” could not do and gives His work to a new people - Christians. But, look at the last line: he who falls on this Stone shall be broken, but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. I like to unwrap this parable by pointing out that all of us will meet Christ, in this life or the next - how we meet Him is determined by our acceptance or rejection of Him. If we trust in Jesus - fall upon Him - we still are broken, but He is able to rebuild us. However, for those who reject Jesus, there is only a future of utter destruction - ground to powder, just like what happens to the great statue in Daniel when the Rock, cut out without hands, smashes it in the feet and grows to fill the whole Earth.
I hope this helps you to find a new way of looking at the promised suffering of Christians. It is a refining, as gold in the fire, not punishment.
God bless you, brother!

1 Like

Yes thank you very much I am very appreciative! May God bless you also

I do not dispute what the previous posts have offered - but there is an additional point that should be made concerning why Christ’s children sometimes receive “chastening”, or corporal discipline.

Hebrews 12:5-11 says that God chastens His children when they do wrong. That’s not talking about judgment in the world to come, but parental discipline in the here and now. He says that corporal discipline may not be pleasant while it’s happening, but it results in the peaceable fruit of righteousness - and it is a demonstration of the Father’s love. In fact, if you can sin and not be disciplined for it, then He says you’re not really a child of God.

Some examples of this can be seen in I Corinthians 11:29-32. Some of the Corinthians were partaking of the communion service even though they were not really in right communion with God or His people. Paul says that because of this, many of them were weak and sickly - and even worse! They were not examining themselves and judging their own sins. He says that if we would judge ourselves - leading to confession and repentance - we would not be judged. But he’s careful to distinguish that when God’s children are judged, they are being disciplined - just as Hebrews 12 said a loving Father would do to correct His own. They are disciplined in love rather than condemned in wrath with the lost of this world.

Notice how Psalm 119:67 says, Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word. And verse 71 says, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes. And notice the psalmist’s humility in verse 75 - I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Finally, in Revelation 3:19, Christ warns the lukewarm Laodicean church, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten - be zealous therefore, and repent.

So we cannot ignore the fact that the Heavenly Father will lovingly discipline His wayward children to set them back on the right path of life.

I hope these verses help you!