2014-09-12 - The Parable of Minas
Note from Author: This week's devotional and next week's one are based on a sermon preached on 08/16/2009. I hope it will be meaningful to you today.
Luke 19:11-27 (NKJV)
This is similar to the Parable of Talents in Matthew, but don't get the two confused. In the Talents parable, servants got different amounts, and the same reward - whereas here, they get the same amount and different rewards. I love parables, because they so often have multiple layers of interest and application. It's the layers that make these little stories so fascinating, so I want to hit all of them, but we'll concentrate on the one most applicable to us.
First lets consider the Historic Meaning. It is the only parable Jesus told that was based on an actual historical event. In 4 B.C., Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great, traveled to Rome with the hopes of being crowned ruler of Judea. When Herod had died, there was confusion over his will; he had written six of them. Two of his sons, Antipas and Archelaus, both claimed the throne. Archelaus traveled to Rome, with the hope that Caesar Augustus would confirm him as the ruler. The Jews were outraged with the prospect of Archelaus being the king, because he was as cruel and brutal as his father. Therefore, they sent a delegation of fifty leading citizens to Rome, to oppose Archelaus being appointed the ruler. Meanwhile, Archelaus bribed many of his supporters to work as his representatives while he was in Rome. Augustus didn't crown Archelaus. Instead, he made him a ruler of Judea, and gave Galilee to Herod's son, Antipas, and the area to the east of the Jordan to Herod's other surviving son, Phillip. Archelaus was so angry, that when he returned to Jerusalem, he had thousands of Jews who opposed him put to death. Archelaus is mentioned only once in the Bible. When Joseph and Mary returned to Israel, after fleeing to Egypt, Matthew 2:22 says when they heard Archelaus was ruler of Judea, they bypassed the area and went to Galilee.
But Jesus didn't merely repeat history, he was trying to teach his disciples a lesson so let's peel off that layer and go deeper and discover the Immediate Meaning. This what he was intending specifically for Israel and for the Disciples. In verse eleven, it includes "because they thought the kingdom was near, because he was near Jerusalem" and interestingly perhaps also because it was close to Passover when Jews expected deliverance. These expectations indicate they were expecting a political king to march into Jerusalem and take back Israel from the Romans for the Jews. And so the parts of the story can be seen as symbols of a greater story.
Jesus is the nobleman who goes to a far country. He left at his death, and also later at his ascension to Heaven. He returned from the grave after three days, and will return again at the second coming. The servants, his followers - the disciples, were instructed to take care of things until he returned. The citizens would be the unbelievers, Jews, like the Pharisees who opposed him. The time of accounting will be the judgment seat of believers, and the destruction of enemies will be the Great White Throne judgment. With this symbolism, Jesus is able to teach them a few things.
First, Jesus teaches them that the Kingdom of God is not near. They looked for a political messiah, not spiritual one. The Passover marked the deliverance from Egyptian bondage, so they thought this one might mark the deliverance from Roman bondage. Even the apostles dreamed of sitting on his right and left hand in his kingdom. But the kingdom of God wouldn't appear immediately.
Second, Jesus teaches them that he will be going away. He wasn't there to stay. He wanted them to know what they should do while he was gone. "Take care of things until I return." He knew, when he left them, that they'd be like sheep without a shepherd. They wouldn't be sure of what to do.
And lastly, in this immediate meaning, he teaches that his disciples needed to keep on working. They've been with him three years, and know how to continue his ministry. There would be a need for faithful service in His absence. Jesus is telling them that He'll be gone for a while, until He receives His kingdom. In the meantime they were to invest in His ventures. Those who didn't follow him would be punished. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says he will return to render judgment upon those who don't submit to him.
Finally, we come to the most powerful meaning for each of us; it is the one applicable to us today - the Personal Meaning. To understand this, we must understand the imagery used.
The first thing we all get at salvation is the SPIRIT OF GOD. He gave the gift of the Holy Spirit, to empower us in fulfilling his mission. According to 2 Corinthians 1:22, Jesus "has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts". In Acts 1:8 he promised, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you."
We may live to be 16, 60, or 86, but we all have the same number of SECONDS IN THE DAY. Let me simply share an illustration I came across a while back.
Imagine there is a Bank that credits your account every morning with $86,400.
Lastly we are all give the STORY OF SALVATION equally. This is the Good news, the Gospel, our testimony. Warren Wiersbe wrote, "When it comes to witnessing, all believers start on the same level, so the reward is according to faithfulness and achievement." (Wiersbe Bible Commentary)
1 Thessalonians 2:4 - … we were allowed of God to be put in trust with gospel
Some who are afraid to share the gospel, because they don't know FAITH, EE, or the Romans Road but you don't have to know that you only need to know what happened to you. Its just "one beggar telling another where he found bread." Like the blind man, when asked questions he didn't know the answers to, said in John 9:25, "I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." "God entrusts believers with the gospel, and he wants them to multiply his message so the entire world will hear it. It is the obligation of believers to be faithful stewards of the message he has entrusted us, until Jesus comes." (Dana Gould (editor) "Shepherd's Notes: Luke")
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.