The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because He was nearing Jerusalem, He told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.
He said, "A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.
Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, 'Invest this for me while I am gone.'
But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We do not want him to be our king.'
"After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were.
The first servant reported, 'Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!'
"'Well done!' the king exclaimed. 'You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.'
"The next servant reported, 'Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.'
"'Well done!' the king said. 'You will be governor over five cities.'
"But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, 'Master, I hid your money and kept it safe.
I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn't yours and harvesting crops you didn't plant.'
"'You wicked servant!' the king roared. 'Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I'm a hard man who takes what isn't mine and harvests crops I didn't plant,
why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.'
"Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, 'Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.'
"'But, master,' they said, 'he already has ten pounds!'
"'Yes,' the king replied, 'and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
And as for these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.'" Luke 19:11-27)
Let me give you some more puzzles concerning this parable. Fuel for your detective training.
What is the focus of the words "the crowd was listening to everything"?
It seems this parable is connected to something that went before it. What was that?
Why should the one who has more be given what the other forfeited? Why isn’t the excess shared around to create equality?
Note that the one who made 10 minas was given authority over 10 cities while the one who made five minas was given authority over five cities. But it had nothing to do with the extent of each one's sweat or effort. The percentage of increase is the same for both of them, they both doubled their money. The difference between them stems from what they were given in the beginning, not the result of their efforts or skill. The second servant can hardly be blamed for only making five if he was only given five.
Notice too that we started with 10 servants but only three are mentioned when dealing with the outcome. Why is that?
Take note of Luke19:22 - "If you knew that I'm a hard man who takes what isn't mine and harvests crops I didn't plant . . . "
It seems as though Jesus or the king in the parable is confessing to being a hard man who uses people for his own good. Is that really the case?
In the context of the words "But Lord, he has ten minas" – who is speaking and to whom?
Is it that the servants speak these words to the master in the parable?
Or is it the crowd who say these words to Jesus?
Do the words "to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away" seem familiar to you? Why is that?
In the end what is the reason that some slaves are rewarded and others are punished?
It doesn’t seem fair that this "other servant" was punished with death for what he did. What was so wrong?
"As for these enemies of mine . . ." There seems to be a sharp contrast in severity in the discourse when the enemies are mentioned. The response seems to be out of proportion if the enemy is the servant who just hid the money and didn’t invest it. Many see the enemy as the servant who didn’t work in the king's name.
But is that really the case? Who are the enemies? The neglectful servants who put their eggs in the wrong basket? Or the rebellious citizens who worked behind the kings back and went to the authorities to have him ousted? Who feigned obedience but whose "hearts were far from him"?
And you thought we were finished. Is that enough questions or would you like me to come up with more? I can; it's easy. I have had years of practice. The sharpness of your questions will determine the level of success you achieve.
Now my dilemma is: do I give you some "answers" in tomorrow's Gemz or do I leave you with the questions. I will leave you in suspense over that one.
Check the Gem tomorrow to see what I decided.
I have learned my craft from the role model of my Greek professor who would pose questions and then leave us to find out the answers. Now I am on my own because my Greek professor Basil Brown has died. Is it perhaps that he was grooming me for that day? I will never forget the last day we had with him in class. He drew our attention to the 153 fish in John 21:11 and he asked "What is the significance of that number?" Some suggested an answer at the end of which he said, "I strongly suggest you check it out." Then he picked up his books and walked toward the door. This was the last day he was with us. He was a guest lecturer from overseas for one year. When he walked through that door he wasn't coming back. So we all protested. He came back to the front of the class and he said, "Class, there is gold in that verse. Dig there." Then he left.
Post script: I was privileged to have an on-going relationship and connection with him after that class. I think because I did some work and followed up the question he left us with and then I wrote to him sharing the fruit of my digging. He responded and we continued dialoguing through the years as I shared the fruit of my labours with him. He was delighted and supported us in our work with Wycliffe in prayer, financially from time and especially in encouragement, spurring me on to higher things. Am I making any sense to you or are these just the ramblings of an absent minded teacher? The ball is in your court.
Your understanding of a thing is dependant upon the degree to which you are willing to ask the hard questions
Good advice lies deep within a person's heart & the wise draw it out. Prov 20:5
The quality of your life is set by the questions you ask yourself. The more honest & brave the questions, the further you'll go. Rick Warren
Life is less a matter of getting the right answers and more a matter of asking the right questions.
You can learn from ANYONE if you ask wise questions; You can learn more from the Bible too by asking wise questions.