Apr 18 2013 - Luke 19:1-27 – Lord and Christ
Luke's account of the parable of the Minas is similar to Matthew's parable of the Talents. But there is a second strand woven into Luke's parable. The lord who gives sums of money to three of his servants before going away on a journey is going to receive a kingdom. Many of the citizens do not want him to be made their king and send a delegation after him to ask that he might not be given the kingdom. But the master is appointed as king, and when he returns, he not only calls his servants to see how they have used the money entrusted to them, he also summons those citizens who had not wanted him to be appointed as their king and has them slaughtered before him.
This rather bloodthirsty second strand of the parable reflects what had actually happened in recent history. Jesus' hearers would have known how Archelaus, on the death of his father Herod, made his way to Rome in order to get confirmation of the kingship bestowed on him in his father's will. Archelaus was followed by a deputation of Jews who resisted his appointment and who succeeded in persuading Augustus to give him only half his father's kingdom and the status of an ethnarch rather than a king. But in the parable that Jesus tells, the master is appointed as king and returns to exact judgment on those who had rejected him.
What is the meaning of this element of the parable? Surely, Jesus is speaking of himself. He is the one whom God has appointed to be king over his people. But many of those to whom he came rejected him; they did not want Jesus to be king over them. This rejection would soon be played out to its ultimate conclusion as Jesus is hung upon a cross. Yet God will have this Jesus to be king over his people. He raised him from the dead and has given him the name which is above every other name, so that every knee might bow to the name of Jesus. Continued rejection of him will bring down judgment upon those who have set themselves against him (cf. Psalm 2).
It's easy for us to point the finger at others who have rejected the Lord Jesus. But we need also to examine our own lives. Are there any areas in our own lives that are not fully submitted to the lordship of Jesus? Are there areas in which we, like the third of the servants in this parable, are not giving him what is his due? Jesus has not been given a half-kingdom and we should not render him half-hearted obedience.
In the story of Zacchaeus which precedes this parable, we read of a man whose life was utterly transformed through his encounter with Jesus. He had been a money-grabbing tax collector but, unlike the rich young ruler we read of yesterday, he was glad to give away much of what he had as part of his devotion to the Lord. Salvation had come to his house and he no longer considered what he possessed to be his own.
Father God, we gladly welcome Jesus as your chosen king and as our Lord and we long for the day when he will return. Help us to live every aspect of our lives gladly under his benevolent rule. Help us not to hold back anything from him but to use all that we have and are as good stewards of your kingdom. Help us to live now in such a way that we may receive the commendation of our Lord at his return.