It must be understood that slavery - which was common in Jesus' day - is not the situation that exists between God and each of us. Rather, slavery as described here - with the master who would reward or beat his servants - is used as a metaphor, because slavery was the status quo during Jesus time. This is why Jesus is using this as an example: So his students could relate to what he is trying to teach them.
The notion that the master who beats his slaves represents God would completely contradict the central tenet of Jesus' teachings:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’" (Luke 10:27)How could a person love such a brutal master?
Rather, what Jesus is describing metaphorically in this parable is the time of death of the body, and the consequences that follow.
It is the time of death that will come when the servant - which represents each of us - least expects it. And it is the consequential nature of the physical world - which returns us the consequences of our activities - that is represented by whether the metaphorical master will reward or beat his servants.
Yes, this physical world has been programmed in such a way that our condition reflects our activities and our consciousness. We are born into these temporary physical bodies according to a combination of our consciousness and past activities.
It is sort of like buying a car: We will typically choose a car according to what we like to drive. But the car we end up with depends upon how much money we have.
Once we are in the physical body we begin to identify with it. We think this body is me. Just as a person driving a sports car might begin to identify with the car - thinking of himself as sporty like the car. But the design of this world is that we are given the illusion that this physical body is me.
Once we begin to identify ourselves with this temporary physical body, we assume that by satisfying the physical body with sensual pleasures and possessions - or by promoting the name and reputation of this physical body - we will become happy. The problem is, because we are not these bodies, these things do not make us happy.
Nonetheless, this ability to seek and achieve sensual pleasures, material possessions, wealth and fame are symbolized in Jesus' parable as he says, "he [the master] will put him [the manager-servant] in charge of all his possessions."
As we seek to gain happiness within the physical world and these physical bodies, our goals become focused upon success, wealth, fame, recognition, sensual pleasure and family.
A person who chases these self-centered dreams through our physical lifetimes may harm others in order to get what he wants. Whether this comes in the form of preventing others from getting their portion or actually going out of his way to hurt others in order to get what he wants, we find this world full of violence due to people striving for their self-centered goals at any cost.
This is being compared here by Jesus as the servant-manager put in charge of some of the master's possessions getting drunk and eating food he's not supposed to eat, and beating the other servants.
But the master - the time of death and the consequences that follow - will at come back at some point, when least expected by his servants.
The master is described here as returning and then either rewarding the servants who follow his wishes - including giving the manager-servant more responsibilities if he takes care of the others - or beating those servants who take advantage of the possessions, get drunk and beat other servants.
Again, the returning of the master represents the death of the physical body. And the rewarding or beating the servants according to their activities represents the law of consequences within the physical world, which returns to us the results of our activities in this lifetime or the next.
The activities of this lifetime all have consequences, according to the choices we make in life. Will we choose to harm others? Will we choose to ignore the fact that our activities harm others?
The consequences of activities that harm others in our chase for materialism are described as pretty tough: "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers."
Again, this is not describing the Supreme Being. It is describing the design of the physical world and its consequential facilities.
Some might say that since God created and programmed the physical world then it is ultimately He who is metaphorically cutting people to pieces. It is He who is metaphorically beating the servants. This is simply not true.
This notion is the same as blaming the Supreme Being for the sufferings of this world.
Just think of this rationally: What would a parent do if their teenage child started beating people up and hurting people. Would they let that teenager continue to harm others - say the teenager put a few people in the hospital, to the point where the police arrested the teenager. Should the parent just bail the teenager out of jail and then let him go back to beating people up?
Certainly not. Because the parent doesn't want other people to be harmed, the good parent would probably let the legal system do its job and punish the teenager according to the rules of the legal system - which is designed to help protect others from violent people like the teenager.
But does this mean that the parent is responsible for the punishment of the teenager? Certainly not. The parent still loves the teenager and wants the best for them.
But as the teenager will hopefully learn, the teenager is responsible for his own actions. It is the teenager that decided to beat up some people. So it is the teenager who will have to suffer the consequences.
Now let's say that the teenager is put into prison for two years for his violent activity. As we find in most prisons, the teenager is then met with other prisoners who are also very violent. As a result, the imprisoned teenager will likely be beat up by his fellow inmates.
Was the beating up of the teenager in prison the parent's fault? Is the parent to be blamed? Certainly not. Once again, the teenager knew that prisons were violent. And the teenager knew he could go to prison if he hurt someone badly. But he did it anyway. So who is to blame? The teenager.
But one might argue that since the Supreme Being set up the consequence system of the physical world then ultimately He is responsible for the consequential pain and suffering of this world - right?
Again, no. It is each of us individually and all of us collectively who cause the sufferings in this world. It is our choices and activities that ultimately produce the pains and suffering of the physical body.
And it is each of us who wanted to leave the Supreme Being. It is each of us who wanted to be free of Him and become free to act out our desires without His interference.
So He merely created a dimension whereby we could do this: Whereby we could act out our self-centered desires freely without His interference.
But should the Supreme Being have created the physical world in such a way that nothing we did had any consequences? A world where we could do what we wanted while using and harming others in order to do it - without any consequences?
Who, then, would choose who could act in this way without any consequences, and who would be hurt by that person acting without consequence? Would such a situation be fair to those who are harmed by the person who hurts others in order to achieve their goals without consequence?
How could that be fair? Let's say that one person is given the physical world and all its trappings and they proceed to become king and then whip and imprison anyone who doesn't obey their command. Is this fair to those who are whipped and imprisoned that such a person could do those things without consequence?
Certainly not. In other words, the only way to set up a system that is fair to everyone at the same time is to design the system with consequences that reflect the activities of each person equally. As such, the only fair system would be one that effectively punished the king mentioned above as example - by returning to him the consequences of the suffering he inflicted upon others.
In such a way, each of us receives precisely what we have doled out in the past. This notion was specifically taught by Jesus and his students, paraphrased with "as you sow, so shall you reap."
This is the law of the physical world. It is a simple law, which is fair both to those who may not harm others as it is to those who do harm others.
But the only way this law of the physical world can be truly seen is to understand our identity and the fact that each of us have lived in prior physical bodies, and will live in a successive physical body should we not choose to return home to the spiritual realm at the end of this lifetime.
Many will jump to a misleading notion of reincarnation after reading this - thinking that our physical body will become another physical body. But the factual event - better described as transmigration of the spirit-person - is based upon the fact that that each of us is not this physical body. We are each spirit-persons, who are temporarily occupying a physical body. Here is the evidence regarding our real identity.
As such, this physical body will die within a few decades, and each of us will leave this physical body. Where will we go?
According to ecclesiastical sectarian philosophy, we will either go to heaven or go to hell. Then some speculate there is a some kind of purgatory state in between.
But one must ask - where is this place called hell? Is it underground? Certainly we have probed the depths of the earth and no one has found such a place.
So where is hell?
Furthermore, the sectarian philosophy indicates one may go to heaven or hell (or purgatory) with their gross physical body. How can that happen when the physical body decomposes after the time of death? In fact, many dead bodies are cremated, which means their physical body is turned into a jar of ashes. So what goes to hell or heaven if the body becomes a jar of ashes?
These points all illustrate that it is the spirit-person who leaves the physical body at the time of death and goes to the next destination. It is the spirit-person who ultimately will ascend home to the spiritual world or will descend into hell.
But where again is hell? Hell is - quite simply - another physical body within the physical world of consequences. The only way one can practically and scientifically accept the existence of hell is to accept the transmigration of the spirit-person.
Yes, as hell is accurately described in scripture, one who goes to hell must suffer the consequences of their activities of their previous lifetime. And depending upon the consciousness of the person, this next hellish lifetime may also be within the body of an animal or other species.
This is precisely why there is suffering in the physical world. The sufferings of this hellish physical world - replete with starvation, wars, violent crime and other forms of suffering - are all reflecting the consequences of our prior activities in our last lifetime. These are being represented in Jesus' parable as being either rewarded or beaten.
This would be comparable to the analogy described above - of the teenager being sent to jail where other prisoners are violent. Transmigrating to an animal body after the death of this body and having to deal with eat or be eaten is comparable to a person being sent to prison because of their violent activities, and having to face that same violence among fellow inmates.
Such is the nature of the consequential physical world. The consequences of some of our activities come back to us in this lifetime, and the consequences of others come back in successive lifetimes.
But Jesus also reveals another important feature of the consequential nature of the physical world: It is based upon awareness. A person who is more aware that what he or she is doing will experience the consequence more fully. Jesus describes this in his parable:
"But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."The point is whether we are aware of the effects of our activities. Let's say a person is driving a car and runs someone over and kills them. Were they aware they were going to run someone over? If they were not aware, the driver might be given a charge of vehicular manslaughter, with a fairly light sentence.
But say the driver was trying to kill a certain person and followed them and then ran them over with the car and killed them. Would such a person be charged with the lighter crime and sentence? No. The person would be charged with murder in the first degree and sentenced to life or execution.
Why? Because they were aware that their actions would result in the death of the person.
This is also why a person who drives drunk and accidentally runs someone over will be given a more severe sentence than someone who isn't drunk and accidentally runs someone over. Because it is common knowledge that drinking reduces control over driving, the drunk driver is held more responsible: They knew they could hurt someone when they drove drunk.
This is the nature of the fairness set up in the design of the physical world's consequential system, as Jesus clarifies. A person who is aware that their actions are hurting another will receive greater consequences for the suffering they produced than a person who is not aware of the suffering they will produce.
As such, the human form of life is known as the lifetime of awareness, and thus comes with greater consequence. Those spirit-persons living within animal bodies have far less awareness of the effects of their actions, and thus do not produce consequences. But those in animal bodies do suffer consequences - consequences produced when the spirit-person was living within a more conscious physical body.
This means, as Jesus is warning, our human lifetime is a lifetime of consequence, and this creates a master of sorts - which returns to us the results of our prior activities in the form of a future lifetime. This also means that since we are subjected to this system, we are its servants of sorts.
However, we must also see the situation from a more broad view, as we consider the loving nature of the Supreme Being:
The fact is, we are not these physical bodies. They are vehicles we are temporarily driving around - much as a person drives a car around.
This means the sufferings of the physical world only take place upon the physical body - not our eternal spiritual spirit-person. This would be comparable to a car being scratched or dented. The car is dented or scratched, not the driver.
But the relationship we have with the suffering of our body depends upon how much we identify with it.
For example, one person can get all worked up about their car being scratched, while another person doesn't care. The person who doesn't care doesn't identify with the car, while the person who is panicking about a scratch is identifying themselves with the car.
We might better put this into another comparison: When a person plays a computer game, they will sit down at the computer and first choose an icon or avatar to enter the game with - just as we will enter the physical world and take on a physical body. This icon or avatar then goes through the video game and gets involved in fights or whatever. The icon might even get blown up in one of the fights, even though the person is still sitting in the chair in front of the computer.
While the person playing the computer game might be emotionally affected by his icon getting blown up in the game, the person sitting at the computer is not blown up. The person sitting at the computer can decide to log out of the game and get up and walk away from the computer with no physical damage. They might have learned something from the game, yes. But even though the icon in the game might be smashed, the computer game player is physically unaffected.
In the same way, our spirit-person remains structurally unaffected by the events of the physical world. We can certainly learn from these events, and grow spiritually - hopefully.
This is the wonderful nature of the Supreme Being. He gives us a virtual world with which to play out our dreams, and receive the consequences as a result in order to learn important lessons - relating to love and fairness.
But just as we wake up from a dream we get involved in, we can wake up from our identification of the physical body. We can, in other words, choose to "log off."
Should we choose to 'log off' of the physical world and not chase after the temporary dreams of the physical world - and instead work to re-develop our innate loving service relationship with the Supreme Being (Jesus' primary teaching) - we can, after the death of this body, return to the spiritual realm and leave behind the consequential sufferings of the physical world.
Yes, it is our choice. We can choose at any time to make a change. This is the loving, merciful nature of the Supreme Being: Regardless of how selfish and awful we have been, He still wants us back should we want to come back. He still wants us to return to His loving arms, but only if we choose to.
All we have to do is make that choice. Because love requires freedom of choice.