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)
I wonder if many of you concluded that Ian is not going to tell us any more. He will leave us with the questions just like his Greek professor did and we will have to find out on our own. I am sure many of my Deeper Bible students who are reading this have already come to that conclusion. I know at times I frustrate them with the way I point to the place to dig and then leave them to find out for themselves. Because I know when we find out for ourselves it excites and inspires us to want to know more. It is at that point that you catch the desire which inspires you to want to know all you can about the Word of God. Let me tell you that is a life long process. As I like to tell people: there is no one alive on this earth who knows everything about the Word of God. It is too deep for that. God's Word will keep you transfixed and spellbound for a life time. It will amaze and surprise you; Just like I will surprise you twice today. I am going to give you the answers today. I know some of you are saying now, "This can't be Ian who is writing this. This must be an imposter. Ian just doesn't do this. What has happened to him?" Well treat it as your birthday present. Sit back and enjoy it and wait for the second surprise.
Here are the "answers" to the questions I posed yesterday:
What is the focus of the words "the crowd was listening to everything"?
"The crowd was listening to everything that Jesus said". What is that referring to? In the immediate context it goes back to the last things Jesus said. Namely: "Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."
Or it goes back to all of the discussion and input about salvation and how you get it spread over the wider context in Luke in the last couple of chapters.
Why should the one who has more be given what the other forfeited? Why isn’t the excess shared around to create equality?
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?
Did it remind you of Luke 8:18? "So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them." It is the same thought Jesus told the disciples in the midst of the Parable of the Soils, with the clause "what they think they have" missed out. Jesus is deliberately reminding them of what they have talked about already. I am not going to dig into this at all with you now. That is mean and unfair isn't it? Not at all. I am simply drawing attention to the fact that I have already Gemmed the Parable of the Soils (or more usually referred to at the Parable of the Sower). Those Gems will also be available in the Indonesian version when we have the new website functioning and the Indonesian Permata are posted.
We started with 10 servants but only three are mentioned when dealing with the outcome. Why is that?
Notice that when it comes to the third one he is introduced as "another comes". The Greek term signifies one of another kind. Essentially there are two kinds of attitudes represented here. Those like the first two and then those who have the same attitude as the third person. Ten have been reduced to three. It seems that the majority of the 10 have the same attitude as this third one, those of another spirit. Those who are willing to work in the Master's name are in the minority. The majority appear to have the attitude of the third man. Narrow is the way that leads to life and broad is the path that leads to destruction.
Is it Jesus or the king in the parable who is confessing to being a hard man who uses people for his own good?
The context has the words in the king's mouth, but of course it is Jesus who is telling the story. There is an obvious inference that just as some see the king as being a hard man, Jesus is viewed in the same way. The subliminal message here is that their view of the king (and therefore Jesus) is not reality. Stake your faith on what you know of your master. How well do you know your King? Don't hedge your bets. Put your all behind your master. So many people view God as harsh, hard, unloving. But they just don't know Him. We blame God for all the things that are wrong with human kind. If you do that then you don't really know God. Jesus is not confessing to being harsh. Rather He is saying, that is your view of God but it is not reality. Jesus says through the mouth of the king in the story, "Your own words condemn you." These citizens pretend to be loyal to their king but are not in reality. They are scared to show their allegiance to him because of what others think of him. How do you disciples feel about the Lord? Are you like the citizens in the story? Those who go behind his back to have him removed? Or do you pretend allegiance but don't dare to do "show it pragmatically" for fear of others? Your actions and your words condemn you.
"But Lord he has ten minas" – who is speaking and to whom?
Either the servants are speaking to the master in the parable or the crowd of followers are speaking to Jesus. Which is it? The context of the sentences around this verses indicate that the response comes from the servants in the parable. But because it is a parable it is also applicable to Jesus. It is functioning more as a rhetorical question put in the mouths of the servants but spoken on behalf of the crowd listening to Jesus and also spoken on our behalf. Don't we all at some time ask that question? It doesn’t seem fair. Jesus, we don't understand. I am sure there were some who were following because the crowd were; just in with the crowd. Interesting isn't it that once-blind Bartimaeus followed Jesus after his healing and his salvation. The crowd were following but Bartimaeus became a different kind of follower. He was not one of "the others" he was one of the small group of selected ones. Which are you? There are only two sorts of people. Either you are lost or saved. Where is your allegiance and your faith ?
"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"? Those who figured the king wasn't coming back and were caught out when he appeared? Or the rebellious citizens who worked behind the kings back and went to the authorities to have him ousted? Those who feigned obedience but whose "hearts were far from him". It is all dependant on their understanding of their master. The servant is to be even more condemned if his estimate of his master is false and it is proved that he didn’t know his master at all.
"You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life. "Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don't have God's love within you. For I have come to you in My Father's name, and you have rejected Me. John 5:39-43
Or harsher still, Jesus' words in Matthew 7: 23 "Depart from Me, I never knew you."
In the end what is the reason that some servants are rewarded and others are punished?
I don't think the servant is being punished because he didn’t make enough money for the nobleman. He is being punished because his loyalty was not toward his master at all. He was pretending support but waiting to see what happened; waiting to see if the master would even come back. There are some followers of Jesus like that. Not knowing if they really believe or not. I will just wait and see in the end if Jesus comes back or not? Sorry friends, too late.
I don’t believe "those enemies of mine" actually refers to the servants who didn’t work with all their heart in the name of master who was unpopular with the public. That is one level of betrayal. But there is a deeper level of betrayal depicted here by those who actively went to the opposition to have the nobleman ousted. That is another level altogether. They were feigning obedience when their hearts are far some him. They were false through and through. By analogy those who actively work against Christ in an underhand, hidden kind of way are destined for final judgement. Note that the text does not say the servants who didn’t make the king enough money were executed on the spot. This is a parable. It is saying something more than the obvious. It is not the servants who waited to see he would come back who are punished. It is "those enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king". Stop and think about who that is in the context of Jesus and eternal life. Neither does Jesus' story say it happened at the time. It is a story told with another purpose in mind. Clearly this refers to End Time judgement which will fall on those who are Christless.
I will draw your attention to one more aspect of this story. Note that the servants [doulos – which actually means slave or bond-servant] receive authority and a kingdom to rule over. Clearly this is not talking about the time of Jesus, under Roman rule. This is talking about End Times when the Kingdom of God is brought in. It is still to come because the Kingdom of God is still to come. Luke tells us that Jesus told us this story to correct the misunderstanding that the Kingdom of God was going happen when Jesus got to Jerusalem, which was only 27 km away, about a 6 hour walk. The focus of this parable is about the coming of the Kingdom of God in all of its fullness – it was not yet then and it is still not yet now. Are you getting it now? Not yet?
Now comes my next surprise. My first surprise was that I would tell you the answers when most of you thought I wouldn’t. But now comes the moment most of you were expecting when I say, Now is the time for you to put it all together. Now that wasn't really a surprise was it? Most of you who know me were expecting that some time. Take all of the elements we have covered over these days on this parable and put them all together to solve the puzzle. You have enough clues now as to how the pieces all fit in this puzzle. Re-read it taking all the inferences into account. I think you will see the meaning of the parable is far different and far deeper than our superficial reading of it suggests.
Tomorrow we will move the 27 kms to Jerusalem. Interesting that this passage finishes with verse 27.
When all seems dark remember to P.U.S.H (PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS) never lose faith! Rick Godwin
Faith Is Not The Denying Of My Circumstances... It Is Acknowledging God’s Truth Concerning Them. Robb Thompson
Faith is relationship with Christ; it's trusting that God means what He says and says what He means. How well do you know Him? Ian
When God solves your problems, you have faith in HIS word; when God doesn't solve your problems, He has faith in YOUR trust in Him. Ian