WISE AND FOOLISH STEWARDS The Parable of the Ten Minas Luke 19:11-27

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1 1 WISE AND FOOLISH STEWARDS The Parable of the Ten Minas Luke 19:11-27 Jerusalem is finally in sight, and because the people in general thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately, Jesus tells them another parable: While they were listening to this, He went on to tell them a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once (v. 11). Jericho is not a great distance from Jerusalem, only about nineteen miles, and as Jesus nears the city, the disciples and others expected Jesus to take control of Israel, and to be the political savior of the nation. Matthew has a parable (the Parable of the Talents Mt 25:14-30) which has striking similarities, but the differences are so clear that there is no possibility that the two are records of the same parable. In the parable of the Talents, for instance, each steward receives a different number of talents (5,2 and 1) whereas in this parable all receive the same amount. In the Parable of the Talents each shows the same fidelity by doubling what he received; in this parable each receives the same and render a different return. In each parable, therefore, the intended lesson is different. THE PURPOSE (19:11). Passover was coming soon; according to Josephus, more than two million pilgrims would pour into Jerusalem shortly, and the air would be heavy with the sense that something big might happen. George Macdonald has a pretty rhyme about their confused expectations: They were all looking for a King, To slay their foes and lift them high. He came a little baby thing, That made a woman cry. Perhaps the generality of his followers thought that, on his arrival at Jerusalem, he would proclaim himself king. THE DISTRIBUTION OF MINAS (19:12-13) He said: A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return (v. 12). In the following parable there are two distinct morals intended; let it be viewed in these two points of light.

2 2 1. The behavior of the citizens to the nobleman 2. The behavior of his own servants to him By the behavior of the citizens, and their punishment (vv. 14,27) we are taught that the Jews, who were the people of Christ, would reject Him, and try to prevent His reigning over them in his spiritual kingdom, and would for that crime be severely punished by the destruction of their state. The disciples, who are His servants; and who made a good improvement of the favors granted them by the Gospel, should be rewarded in proportion to the improvement made under the means of grace. This latter moral is all that is intended by Matthew (Mt 25:14) as spoken by Christ after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem; though Luke has here placed that event after the parable. The meaning of the different parts of this parable appears to be as follows. The Lord Jesus, who was shortly to be crucified by the Jews. He went into a far country, that is, ascended to the right hand of the Divine Majesty. The phrase to receive a kingdom refers to taking possession of the mediatorial kingdom, the right to which, as Messiah, Jesus had acquired by His sufferings (Php 2:8-9; Heb 1:3,8-9). Here is an allusion to the custom of those days, when they who had kingdoms or governments given unto them went to Rome to receive that dignity from the emperors. The Jewish historian Josephus confirms this interpretation as he points out that Herod went to Rome to receive the sanction and authority of the Roman emperor. Here Herod divided his territories after his death among his family and before its bequests became valid, they had to be confirmed by the Roman Emperor. Herod s son Archelaus went to Rome for confirmation his post and was in fact followed by an embassy of protesting Jews. In the event, Augustus sided with Archelaus.1 He returned to judge and punish the rebellious Jews: So He called ten of His servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back' (v. 13). A mina was three months wages for a common laborer Some gifts are distributed differently by God, according to His own pleasure; others are universally given to believers such as the Gospel, which is given to each Christian in equal measure. It isn't that each servant received ten minas, but that ten were distributed to the group as a whole, one to each of the ten servants. While the master was away, receiving his kingdom, the servants were expected to do business to use the resources that the master gave, and to use them to the utmost.

3 3 THE REBELLION OF THE CITIZENS (19:14) The reaction of the citizens was one of rebellion: "But his subjects hated Him and sent a delegation after Him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king' (v. 14). These are the citizens of the nobleman, who lived in the area he ruled. These are not the servants who received the minas. In this sense, every person is a citizen of God's earth. We are all under His ultimate rule and have to answer to Him. These citizens hated Him, and they made it clear to the nobleman that they refused to have this man to reign over us. In Jesus' parable, the nobleman did nothing to deserve this rejection; it was only because the citizens have heart full of hate. They would not submit to Jesus government and, a short time after this, they preferred even a murderer to Him. No wonder that those who murdered the Lord of glory should prefer a murderer, one of their own kind of people, to the Redeemer of their souls. They despised Him for His humble birth, His crucifixion to the world and for the holiness of His doctrine. Neither self-denial nor holiness suits the dispositions of the carnal mind. Jesus was made king: HE WAS MADE KING (19:15) "He was made king, however, and returned home. Then He sent for the servants to whom He had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. (v. 15) When He came to punish the disobedient Jews; and when He shall come to judge the world (see the Parable of the Talents Mt 25:14). ACCOUNTABILITY (19:16-25) Then the citizens came to give an account of their investment: "The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more' (v. 16).

4 4 The principal difference between this parable and that of the talents above referred to is, that the mina given to each seems to point out the gift of the Gospel, which is the same to all who hear it; but the talents distributed in different proportions, according to each man's ability, seem to intimate that God has given different capacities and advantages to men, by which this one gift of the Gospel may be differently improved. Jesus then responds: "'Well done, my good servant!' His master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities' (v. 17). This is to be understood as referring to the new kingdom which the nobleman had just received. His former trustiest and most faithful servants he now represents as being made governors, under him, over a number of cities, according to the capacity he found in each; which capacity was known by the improvement of the minas. "The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.' (vv ). "Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow' His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' (vv ). The first servant did business with his master's mina, and had ten more to show for it. This was an impressive 1000% increase. The first servant received praise because he demonstrated faithful handling of the master's resources. He was given authority over ten cities in the kingdom his master just received. And the reward for faithful service is not rest, but more service! The second servant brought another good report. He did business with his master's mina and had five more to show for it a 500% increase. He is also rewarded, though not with the words "Well done, good servant." The number of cities he is given authority over is in proportion to his faithfulness in doing business with his master's resources. The third servant did not have a good report. He did not obey the master's command to do business until He came back: "Then He said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas. Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' (vv )

5 5 Taking the mina and burying it underground is not doing business! It is probably an observation that some person made while our Lord was delivering the parable, with a design to correct him in the distribution as if he had said, "Why give the mina to that person? He has got ten already; give it to one of those who has fewer." Instead of rewarding the third servant, the master rebukes him because the great authority and power of the master should have inspired the servant to greater diligence, not to disobedience and laziness. The third servant had all taken from him. Although he remained his master's servant and continued to live in his house, he was left with nothing because he proved that he was unable to manage his master's things. And so he was given nothing to manage. The punishment for those who rebel is severe: Severe Punishment (19:26-27) "He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of Mine who did not want me to be king over them bring them here and kill them in front of Me (vv ). Although this is probably a reference to the awful destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 it points to the final destruction of all who are found in open rebellion against Christ. APPLICATION We are all warned about the consequences of rebellion against the Lord. Either we let Him reign over us or we will spend eternity apart from Him in everlasting torment. If we are already His servant, are we doing the business He told us to do? 1 Josephus, Antiquities I, xiv.c.xiv NOTE

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