<B>"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."</B> - <I>New International Version</I>, published by Zondervan Publishing House.
Please note that only one slave is spoken of here in this translation. Some translations give the impression that two different slaves are discussed here in this text. <I>The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures</I>, published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is one of those translations that mentions two different slaves. It is interesting to note that <I>The Emphatic Diaglott</I>, which was also published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, only mentions one slave. What is going on here? Admittedly the text is difficult to translate from the Greek. It is one of those scriptures where a measure of ambiguity exists in the meaning and different translators translate it differently.
Christ asked this question just two days before he was handed over for execution. (Matthew 26:1, 2) It is my opinion that it was he, himself, who was the faithful and wise servant. Please reason on the following: Christ was the one placed in charge of the household of God to impart wisdom and truth to his people. He was the one who gave his flesh and blood, which was the food for the life of the world. (John 3:16, 17) He had offered himself of his own free will. (John 10:11, 18) God had placed all things in his hands. (John 13:3; 17:10; Ephesians 1:19-22) And for these reasons, Christ's Lord and Father, Jehovah, was well pleased with him. The illustration demonstrates that the servant, Jesus Christ, was faithful in carrying out the will of his Lord, Jehovah; and upon God's coming to bear witness to these things, he was well pleased when he found Jesus doing so. This was foretold long ago in Malachi 3:1-5, which says that after Christ had carried out the will of God, Jehovah would come near for judgement. And when the religious leaders rejected Christ as the promised Messiah, God put himself in judgement with them for their wickedness.
In his question Christ also asked, "But suppose that servant is wicked . . ." which clearly indicates that the servant had free will. Christ could have chosen to beat his fellows servants, like the Scribes and Pharisees (who were the confirmed drunkards in the illustration); but, instead, he choose to obey his father's command to lay down his life, and also to receive it back again. (John 6:38; 10:18; 15:13) Adam had exercised his free will when he brought sin and death to his children. And Christ also exercised his free will when he brought righteousness and life to those who believe that he died for their sins. - Romans 5:12-21.