The Parable of the Minas

Luke 19:14 – We will not have this man to reign over us.

Intro: I work with a program, but I do occasionally take requests. Recently I discussed with someone one of Jesus’ more obscure (less known) parables, and it was suggested that we consider it in a lesson. In our study of Jesus’ life this year we are scheduled to study the parables in more detail in June. But I want to take a look at the parable uniquely found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 19. My focus in this lesson may seem unusual, because I especially want to consider the context of the story.

Read Luke 19:11-27

I. The context: Why did Jesus teach this parable at this time?

A. vs. 11 – He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. This verse provides a real background to the story. It seems clear that this parable is part of Jesus’ discussion at Jericho where he specifically spoke of His mission on earth. As he drew near to Jerusalem (17 miles away) the thoughts of His disciples were focused on what they assumed would soon occur – the coming of the Kingdom of God. Many were convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but had real misconceptions concerning the nature and purpose of His Kingship. They had even tried on previous occasions to make Him their king, believing, no doubt, that He could and would throw off the Roman oppression. Even his closest disciples did not understand. (In Luke 9 – James and John want Jesus to call down fire from heaven to punish those who would not receive Him; Mark 10:37 -James and John want to sit on his right and left hand) Whatever their mental images of the kingdom, there seems to have been the general view that the kingdom would immediately appear. As Jesus comes near the close of His ministry, He teaches a parable to help clear up some misconceptions.

II. The Story: Some suggest that Luke’s account is his rendering of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25. Although these parables are very similar, they are distinct enough to conclude that these are not the same parable: spoken in different places (Jerusalem/Jericho), to a different audience; one involves only servants; the other involves also hostile citizens; one has three servants, the other ten servants; different sums of money; different applications.

A. The King: vs. 12“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.” This nobleman fittingly represents Jesus, the Messiah. He meets the credentials of a king (fulfilled messianic prophecies) and He is worthy to be king (exhibiting His ability to supply the needs of the people and deliver them from their enemies). But His kingship will not begin here where he is. He travels to another place far away to receive His crown and begin His reign (“to have himself appointed king” NIV)

1. This was pointing out to the disciples that Jesus would not immediately establish His kingdom during the coming Passover at Jerusalem. Later in the upper room discourse, the disciples were perplexed and sorrowful when Jesus spoke to them about going away (John 16)

2. Where was this “far country”? Was it the grave (hades) at His death, or heaven at His ascension after His resurrection? I believe that the best understanding points to His ascension to the Father as the time He would receive the Kingdom. Other scripture bear this out…

            • Dan 7:13-14 – “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
            • Matt 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
            • In Acts 2 Peter proclaimed that Jesus had ascended to the right hand of God and was occupying the throne of David.
            • Eph 1:19-21 – the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
            • Jesus’ parable pointed forward to 50 days after His death at the Passover, on the Day of Pentecost, when the church or kingdom of God began through the coming of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the authority of Christ. After His resurrection: Acts 1:3-8 – He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit Promised 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

B. The Servants: vs. 13 – So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ In preparation for His reception of His kingdom, the nobleman entrusts his servants (10 may indicate the whole group) with responsibility to “do business” In His behalf. His journey to the far country provides an opportunity for His servants to show their faithfulness and loyalty to Him.

1. For them the issue is one of stewardship and responsibility. While the master wanted them to make money with what he provided, the amount of money is insignificant in this parable. All received the same relatively small amount. The question was whether each would faithfully work and submit to His authority. Therefore the authority of the King is in view. Some servants will be faithful, but not all are willing.

C. The Rebellious Citizens: vs. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ There were some other citizens (subjects) who hated the nobleman. They went as far as sending a delegation to denounce His authority over them, and attempt to sabotage His reign.

1. Jesus’ story may have had a real life parallel to the original audience. Archelaus was the designated heir to the kingdom of his father, Herod the Great. He traveled to Rome to obtain confirmation from Octavius, the Emperor. But he was followed by a contingent of his enemies who persuaded the emperor to give him only part of the territory he sought. (Josephus, Wars, II, 80¬100; Antiquities, XVII, 200-320). But the enemies of this King would have no such success.

2. David prophesied of the Christ, “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head” (Ps. 69:4). Jesus warned his disciples that they would be hated, because He was hated. Later in the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus spoke of those who treated the servants of the king spitefully and killed them (Matt. 22:6). Jesus was clearly pointing out that His authority would be rejected.

3. But the hatred and rejection would not preclude His reigning over them. Notice that he returns in vs. 15, “having received the kingdom“. His kingship was not postponed because of their rejection. Rather, the accountability he established with His subjects before he left was still intact, and when He returned He came to exercise judgment. God prophesied to Israel through the Psalmist, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Ps. 118:22) John said, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13). Dispensational premillennialism cannot appeal to this parable for support of theories which claim Jesus wanted to establish His kingdom but was thwarted by the rejection of the Jews or that HE will not receive His kingdom until He has returned to Jerusalem to sit on David’s throne.

D. The Judgment: Luke 19:15 – “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. The authority of this king would be exhibited in His willingness and ability to judge His servants. There would be an accounting. This was clear proof that He was in charge.

1. The lesson of this part of the parable is not hard to understand. Those servants who are responsible and use what they are entrusted with, are rewarded. Those who are faithful in little are given power over much (from 10 minas to the rulership of 10 cities). But for the servant is fearful and reproachful to the King there is only punishment. What he was given will be taken away. God demands that we use what He gives.

2. vs. 27But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'” But then the story turns back to those citizens who tried to sabotage His kingdom, and hated Him – His enemies. The King has them destroyed. There is an accounting for those who reject the King. Jesus’ words may have been a prophetic pointer to the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem as God’s punishment of the Jewish nation for the rejection of their Messiah.

            • Burton Coffman says… This bringing of his enemies and slaying them must not be understood as merely inert matter in the parable. As Trench said, “It belongs to the innermost kernel of the parable,” showing the unmitigated wrath of Almighty God as it shall finally be vindicated upon the wicked. In this great parable, it is of the greatest significance that Jesus is the nobleman who went to receive a kingdom. Therefore, Jesus is Lord and King, and such this parable was designed to declare him, no less than it was designed to show that no immediate political victory for the Jews would mark God’s kingdom.

Conclusion: There are several important lessons for us in this parable. But what I see that impresses me today is the connection between the appearance of the kingdom of God and the authority of the King.

1) The Kingdom of God would come in its time, despite the plans and schemes of His enemies. The rejected stone would become the cornerstone.

2) The Kingdom of God demanded submission to the authority of the king. There were many who anticipated the coming of the Kingdom as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Surely this was the time. But Jesus’ parable revealed the truth they were missing. The coming of God’s kingdom was not the promise of a political victory, but the call for spiritual submission to the authority of the King. Those who rejected the words of the King, and refused to do His business, would never be in the kingdom.

Jesus in on His throne today. Are you in the Kingdom? In Matthew 16, after Jesus predicted that He would build His church, despite all the efforts of Satan to the contrary, He promised Peter that he would give him the keys of the kingdom. On the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus resurrection from the dead, Peter and the other apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit and they opened up the kingdom…

Acts 2:32-38This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.