The Gospel of Luke - Part 80
Working for the King — Luke 19:11-27
April 29, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)
We are in chapter 19 of Luke, where we are Confronted by The King. As Jesus starts to be more open about who He really is and that He is The King, we can see contrasting responses to Him. Some believed, some repented, some criticized, some rejected. But no one ignored him. Jesus' actions and teachings demand that we choose how we will respond to Him.
As we go through this chapter of Luke, notice people’s reaction to Him. Some will submit to His authority while others will reject it. But each person must choose how they will respond to the King! We are breaking this chapter into:
A. Welcoming The King
B. Working For The King
C. Worshiping The King
Each of these sections addresses a misconception people had (have) about Jesus and His kingdom. Last week we dealt with the Welcoming of The King, when Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector who was short and rich, climbed a tree to see Jesus and addressed Jesus in terms that made it clear that he realized that Jesus was the Messiah.
In this event we saw that Jesus has a heart for sinners, He said He came to seek and save the lost. Our take-home was that we need to have a heart like Zacchaeus who was seeking Jesus and was willing to be embarrassed to serve Him. We also realized that we need to have a heart like Jesus had for the sinners. We need to be seeking them to tell them about Jesus.
B. Working for the King:
As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’ ” Luke 19:11-27In last week’s lesson we saw that people tend to be wrong about what kind of people they think God is looking for. They grumbled when Jesus paid attention to a tax collector, a sinner. In verses 11-27, we see that people were also wrong about what kind of kingdom Jesus was establishing.
What were some wrong ideas people had about the kind of kingdom that the Messiah would create? Verse 11 answers the question, at least partially.
As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. Luke 19:11As we've mentioned before, the Jews had a wrong perception of the kingdom of God. They were expecting Jesus to establish a political kingdom. That's the reason for the reference to Jesus approaching Jerusalem in this verse people were expecting Him to go to Jerusalem and there proclaim Himself King and establish His kingdom on earth. However, this will not take place until the Second Coming of Jesus and His millennial reign.
In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus said,
“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-21The kingdom Jesus came to establish is within us and among us. It's within us in that it is a spiritual rather than political kingdom. It is among us in that it now co-exists on earth with Satan's kingdom. The Life application Bible Notes say:
The people still hoped for a political leader who would set up an earthly kingdom and get rid of Roman domination. Jesus’ parable showed that his kingdom would not take this form right away. First he would go away for a while, and his followers would need to be faithful and productive during his absence. Upon his return, Jesus would inaugurate a kingdom more powerful and just than anything they could expect. This story [also] showed Jesus’ followers what they were to do during the time between Jesus’ departure and his second coming. Because we live in that time period, it applies directly to us. We have been given excellent resources to build and expand God’s kingdom. Jesus expects us to use these talents so that they multiply and the kingdom grows. He asks each of us to account for what we do with his gifts. While awaiting the coming of the kingdom of God in glory, we must do Christ’s work. (Life Application Bible Notes)As we look at this parable, there are a number of things to consider. First, consider the groups of people mentioned: Who do you think the people in the parable are intended to represent?
The Man of Noble Birth:
If the “man of noble birth” represents Jesus, what are some things He tells us about Himself through this parable?
He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return...” Luke 19:12This verse reveals Jesus' plans for the future. When He goes to Jerusalem, it is not to establish an earthly political kingdom. Instead, He will die for our sins and be resurrected. Then He will go to “a distant country,” heaven. At some time in the future, Jesus will return as King to rule and to judge.
Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ Luke 19:13In the parable, Jesus makes a distinction between His “servants” and His “citizens”. The “servants” represent Jesus’ disciples, not just the Twelve, but all who believe in Him and follow Him.
The king calls together ten of his servants and gives each of them one mina.
According to the New American Standard Bible, a “mina” was a monetary unit equal to about 100 drachmai or 100 days' wages. To update this, look at it this way: A person earning $30,000 a year earns an average about $115 a day. Multiply that by 100 and you have $11,500. The king gives the equivalent of this amount to each servant. The king commands the servants to “put this money to work” until the king returns.
But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ Luke 19:14Some translations use the word subjects instead of citizens. The “citizens” in this parable are probably a specific reference to the Jews. But it also seems to apply to all people. Notice how Jesus emphasizes His authority as king over everyone, not just His servants.
There was also a large group of the citizens of his kingdom who rejected his authority altogether. They went so far as to send a delegation (maybe the religious leaders of Jesus’ day) requesting that he not be made king over them. When the king returns, both groups (servants and citizens) must give an account of themselves to the king.
So how are we to understand this story? Well, the king clearly refers to Jesus. Like the noble man in the story, while Jesus was on earth He was not yet “crowned” king. Like this man, Jesus would depart. And like the man in the story, Jesus will return, this time with all His authority as King of kings and Lord of lords. When He returns, He will rule and He will hold every person accountable. Romans 14:12 makes this very clear:
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:12It's important to notice the difference in the accountability of the servants and the rebellious citizens. If the servants represent Jesus’ followers, then what can we learn from what Jesus says in this parable that applies directly to us? Each of us as His followers is responsible for our stewardship of the things that God has entrusted to us. Notice that the servants are not judged, there is no issue of salvation here, but they are held accountable.
What do you think the money represents? What are some things that God has entrusted to us?
Not everyone receives the same reward because people take their commitment to God differently. Some followers are totally devoted to God and seek to serve Him to the best of their ability. Others of us are more half-hearted. Our reward will be less because of our choices, our efforts.
But what about the third servant? Let me suggest one interpretation: I think this servant represents people who appear to be followers of Jesus but in their heart have rejected His authority over their lives. Notice how resentful this servant is.
Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ Luke19:21-22What were some wrong ideas that the third servant had about Jesus?
Hard the servant saw the king as harsh, insensitive, uncaring;
You take the servant saw the king as unjust, unreasonable, unfair;
This illustrates an important principle: Wrong ideas about God lead to wrong actions.
In the case of this servant, he was afraid of the wrong things. Jesus is not a “hard man”. On the contrary, Jesus is loving and merciful and gracious! And Jesus is not unjust; He doesn’t take what He doesn’t deserve. On the contrary, He gives us what we don’t deserve!
What do you think are some wrong ideas people have about God today?
He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! Luke 19:22Notice, too, that the king calls him “wicked.” Remember, God knows our hearts. Though the third servant tries to represent himself as the victim, Jesus knows that in his heart he is wicked and rebellious. I think this servant really belongs in the same category as the rebellious subjects. Notice how he ends up under the same judgment. Jesus, like the king, is not fooled. Lots of church people may fall into this category they have religion but no relationship. They may be in the church but Jesus is not really in their hearts. There is a sober warning for “Christians” here. We can fool other people. We may even fool ourselves. But we will never fool God.
So the rebellious citizens represent people who reject Jesus' authority over their lives. Like the people in the story, they can live the way they want to for awhile. But the time will come when the King will return and those who have rejected Him will be judged. There is no second chance for these people. They rejected the king and they will have no place in His kingdom. What might be some applications that we can make from this story that Jesus tells?
One application is to realize that even as Christians, as disciples, we are still accountable to God. Our judgment will not be concerning our salvation (which is because of Jesus) but will rather concern our service and our stewardship.
There are many references to the accountability of Christians to God. Here are just a few examples:
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:27
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Romans 14:10
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:12
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2 Corinthians 5:10
With this next section of Luke 19, we begin studying the last week in Jesus’ life, leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. Think about it. Luke devotes five chapters (Luke 19-24) of his gospel (over 20% of his book) to this last week of Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew sets aside eight chapters (Matthew 21-28) to this same week, Mark had five chapters out of 16 (Mark 11-16), and John devotes nearly half of his gospel (Chapters 12-21) to the last 8-9 days of Jesus’ life. All of this shows how important these events are both to the writers and to God, the ultimate author of these books.
Because of the importance of these events, I’ve printed a “Harmony of the Gospels” for the events of this 8-9 day period. A “Harmony” tries to list events in sequential (chronological) order along with the passages from each Gospel that address each event. There is some minor disagreement on the sequence of some of the events by authors who have put these lists together. However, hopefully this file will still be helpful in understanding what happened on what day and seeing which passages in the other Gospels also describe these events. An overview of the traditional/historical calendar of events for the last eight days of Jesus’ life looks this:
Saturday & Sunday - Jesus in Bethany
Sunday - triumphal entry by Jesus into Jerusalem
Monday - Jesus’ cleansing of the temple
Tuesday - confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders
Wednesday - Jesus teaching His followers
Thursday - preparation for the Passover
Friday - Jesus’ trial and crucifixion
Saturday - Jesus’ body in the tomb
Sunday - Jesus’ resurrection
Let’s be sure we keep a reverent and thankful attitude as we begin our study of the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
So far we have discussed:
A. Welcoming The King and
B. Working For The King.
Next week we will start the section of Luke 19 we titled: C. Worshiping The King. It is the start of the last week of the life of Jesus here on earth.