The Nobleman: His Slaves and His Citizens (Luke 19:11-27)

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

Introduction

My friend Chuck was just released from prison. It was my joy and privilege to pick him up and take him to the airport. As we visited in the past few days, Chuck told me about some of the things which he did, and which his friends did, knowing his time was short. He told me that he had signed up to umpire an incredible number of baseball games in his last three days, somewhere between 8 and 13 as I recall. In the prison, and elsewhere as I understand it, there is an expression that is used which is interesting. If a man has three days left until his release, he will say, “I have two days and a wake-up.” That last day, as it were, is the time when he comes to life, when he does all that he needs to do, when he begins to think and act in light of what he will be doing from that time on.

It is interesting what we will do or not do, knowing that the time is short. Some Christians seem to think that believing the time before our Lord’s return is short has nothing but good results. That is not necessarily true. I have seen men go to prison, sentenced for many years, living as though their release were imminent. They fail to develop the mindset and the behavior patterns which are necessary for getting along as well as they can.

Our text is very interesting in that it depicts disciples as thinking that they have “a few days and a wake-up” before the kingdom comes. Jesus, on the other hand, seems to view this mindset as problematic. He tells this parable in order to correct, or at least to put into perspective this short-term thinking. We, too (or at least many of us), believe that the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is imminent, that is, it could be at any moment. In the case of people of Jesus’ day, the people were both right and wrong. The entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem did present Israel with their Messiah, but in the plan and purpose of God, He would be rejected, nailed to a cross, buried, and rise again, all to save men from their sins. It would not be until some time later that the kingdom of God would be established. Indeed, we still await the coming of that kingdom.

What, then, is wrong with looking for an imminent return of our Lord? Is Jesus trying to teach the people that they are wrong? Yes, in fact, He is doing that in our text. But it is not merely holding to an imminent return that is wrong, it is holding this view wrongly, in misapplying it, that we may err greatly. Just as the doctrine of God’s grace can be abused, even though true (cf. Romans 6), the doctrine of an imminent coming can be misused, too. Let us look carefully, then, at what is wrong with the “imminent kingdom” position taken by the people of Jesus’ day, and let us study our text carefully to see how this parable is intended to correct the error.

Background

The Lord has had His face set towards Jerusalem for some time now (cf. 9:51). He has spoken very specifically to His disciples about His rejection, suffering, and death at Jerusalem (cf. 18:31-34). His disciples were not able to understand, however. They, like many others, have their heads filled with glorious thoughts of the kingdom of God, the appearance of which they expect at any moment (19:11). The closer they get to Jerusalem (Jericho was about 17 miles away), the greater the expectation. Jerusalem was not only the capital of Israel, and the throne of the king (including Messiah, the Son of David), it was the place where they expected the kingdom to be commenced. Jesus’ arrival at Jerusalem was viewed to be the official commencement of the kingdom. Reviewing these Old Testament texts, we can understand why:

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:9).

At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts (Jeremiah 3:17).

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness’ (Jeremiah 33:16).

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls (Joel 2:32).

The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her (Joel 3:16-17).

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Micah 4:2).

This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain” (Zechariah 8:3).

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity (Zechariah 13:1).

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south (Zechariah 14:4).

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter (Zechariah 14:8).

The Structure of the Text

The structure of our text can be summarized as follows:

(1) Introduction—(v. 11)

(2) The Nobleman’s Departure—(vv. 12-13)

(3) The Rebellion of the Nobleman’s Citizens—(v. 14)

(4) The King Returns and Deals With His Slaves—(vv. 15-26)

(5) The King Deals With His Rebellious Citizens—(v. 27)

The Relationship Between
Luke 19:12-27 and Matthew 25:14-30

The marginal notes in the NASB, both in Matthew 25 and in Luke 19 seem to suggest that these two accounts are parallel. While there are some obvious similarities, the differences are far greater. Consider the differences, which become much more obvious when the two passages are compared side-by-side:

Luke 19:11-27

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those, standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

Matthew 25:14-30

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him pivately. “Tell us,” they said, “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3).

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.

The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Excellent, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’

The Differences Summarized57

Luke

Matthew

Approaching Jerusalem (19:28)

In Jerusalem (24:1-3)

A nobleman, then king (12)

A man (14)

Went to receive kingdom (12)

Went away on journey (14)

Money = Mina (13)

Money = Talent (15)

Each given one mina (13)

Given according to ability (15)

Gain was different (16, 18, 20)

Each doubled in gain (16-18)

Slaves & Citizens

Only slaves

The Setting
(19:11)

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

Jesus had just told Zacchaeus that “salvation had come to his house” (v. 9). Some listened and believed that this meant that salvation had also come to the nation in the form of the kingdom of God. Jesus and His disciples were pressing on, drawing ever nearer to Jerusalem, the hub of Israel, the focal point of biblical prophecy. The disciples, at least, regarded Jesus as the Messiah, albeit a very different one than that which was to be. As the distance between Jesus, the crowds who followed, and Jerusalem shrunk, the expectation exponentially multiplied. They thought of the kingdom as but a few miles and a few hours away. They believed the kingdom of God was imminent. That was the problem, it would seem. That is the very reason Luke gives us for Jesus telling the parable which follows. Somehow, this parable is to correct, or at least to clarify, the situation.

The Nobleman, His Destiny,
His Departure, His Slaves and Citizens
(19:12-14)

12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

The man of the story was a person of position and power, a “nobleman” (NASB, v. 12). He was soon to be a man of even greater power and position. He was about to become a king. In order to be appointed as such, he had to travel to a distant country. As I understand it, the kingdom which the nobleman was to receive was not a different kingdom in a distant land, but the kingdom which he had just left. It would have been something like a lawyer going to Washington D. C., to be appointed to a high position back in his home state. It would seem to men that this nobleman would return quite soon, to assume his position of power.

Knowing that he would be absent for a time, the nobleman called some of his slaves to him, to give them their orders for the period he was to be absent. He gave each of the ten slaves one mina. From the marginal note found in the NASB at verse 13, we can learn that this was equivalent to nearly 100 days’ wages. A talent, on the other hand (as mentioned in Matthew 25:15ff.), was worth about 50 times as much (cf. marginal note in NASB at Matthew 25:15). His command was specific. The slaves were all to “do business” (Luke 19:13, NASB) with the money, or, as the NIV puts it, to “put the money to work” until the master returned. The master expected to get back more than he put into the hands of his slaves. Money, as a friend of mine put it, has a time-value. Money should always increase over time, since it can always be loaned out at interest, or at least put in the bank, where it will be loaned out. The master thus expected to get back more than he left in the care of each slave.

The master not only had slaves, who were obligated to serve him, he also had citizens who should also serve him as their master. In those days, citizens were virtual slaves of the king. It would seem that the citizens were silent as the nobleman left their country. They did not like this man, nor did they want him to return to rule over them, once he was officially king. They seem to have gotten their courage in the nobleman’s absence. Thus, they sent a delegation to that distant place, informing their “king” that they did not want him to return, and therefore strongly suggesting that he not return.

It is not difficult to understand the story thus far, nor is it difficult to see its meaning with reference to Jesus, His “departure,” His rejection, and His return. Like the nobleman, Jesus came to the earth with great position and power. Like the nobleman, Jesus’ power greatly increased as a result of His departure. Jesus was rejected by men, hung on a cross, put to death, buried, raised, and then ascended to heaven, where He now is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus’ power is now even greater than it was when He first came to the earth (cf. Philippians 2:9-11). His return to reign over His people, His citizens has been delayed (from our human perspective), but He will surely come.

The King’s Return: Accounts Settled
(19:15-27)

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

After some time, the nobleman did return, but now as the king. The first thing he did, as king, was to settle accounts with his servants. Apparently Jesus did not mention any more than three of the slaves. One of them did very well, getting a 10-fold return on his master’s money. Another slave managed to use his master’s money to obtain a five-fold return. The third had no increase at all, for a very understandable reason: he had never put the money to any use. Instead, he simply hid the money in the ground. In effect, he lost money for his master, since there had been no gain at all.

The master dealt with the first two slaves in a similar way. The first slave, who seems to have been more diligent (he had the greatest increase, twice as much as the second slave), received his master’s commendation: “Well done!” The second slave was not commended with the same words as the first, but was rewarded in the same manner—each received a position of authority directly proportionate to their faithfulness with regard to the master’s money. The first slave presented his master with ten minas and received as his reward, the rule of ten cities. The second slave presented the master with five minas and received the rule of five cities as his reward. In both cases, their faithfulness as slaves in the use of their master’s money resulted in them becoming rulers.

The third slave who was mentioned was very different, and so was his master’s response. Notice that this slave is by far the focus of this parable. The first slave is allocated 2 verses of print; the second, another 2 verses. The account concerning the third slave involves 7 verses. It is evident, then, from the “law of proportion” that this third slave, while not the hero of the story, is the central figure. To relate this to the introduction in verse 11 we must say that this third slave personifies the problem which our Lord is addressing, the problem of thinking that the kingdom is imminent.

This slave did not put his mina to use, he did not “do business” with it. Instead, he hid it, neatly wrapped in a piece of cloth. Initially, I failed to distinguish what the slave in this parable did with the mina, from what the slave did with the talent in Matthew’s gospel. In Matthew, the slave buried the talent in the ground. In this parable, the slave wrapped the money up in a piece of cloth, and hid it somewhere. I can almost see it socked away in his drawer somewhere close.

The slave's words are all that we have to go by. They are also that by which the slave was judged by his master. His words, quite honestly, have been very perplexing to me. I have, however, come to the following conclusions.

(1) The master expected the slave to take his words literally and seriously, which the slave did not do. The master told all the slaves to “do business” with the money he entrusted to them. This slave did not do so. Hiding the money in a piece of cloth isn’t “doing business.”

(2) The master took the words of the slave seriously, judging him in accordance with what he said.

(3) The slave’s description of his master was far from flattering. It strikes me as totally out of place for the slave to tell his master that he is a “hard man” (NIV, “exacting,” NASB). I have the impression that the slave’s view of his master differs only slightly from that of the citizens, who do not want this man as their king.

(4) The slave’s description of his master may not have been accurate. The master did not challenge the viewpoint of the slave—that he was a harsh and demanding man, but this does not mean that the slave was correct. This was his perception of the master, whether it was correct or not. I personally think that the master was not harsh. After all, the master is a picture of our Lord, who will come as the King of the Earth.

(5) The slave’s words are hypocritical. The slave told his master that he feared him, because he was exacting, but the master refused to accept this explanation. If the slave had truly feared his master, he would have made an effort to produce a profit for him, which he did not do. He did not even go so far as to put the money out at interest, so as to get some return for the master. If the slave was truly fearful, he would have also been obedient.

(6) The slave’s words provide us with the key to understanding why he did not make an effort to “do business” with the master’s money, even when commanded to do so, and when he said that he feared him. I have come to the conclusion that the slave’s perception of his master is very similar to that of the citizens, who rejected him. Why did the citizens not want this nobleman as their king? Because they thought he would be a bad king. Just as the master had the right to reap what he did not sow, by being the master of tenant farmers, so the king also taxed the people, and gained benefits from their labor.

Personally, I think that the slave felt it was wrong for his master to lay claim to any of the fruit of the labor of others. I think that the slave felt his master was both unkind, uncaring, and undeserving of gain. I believe that he felt the master was wrong to command his slaves to “do business” and to make a profit. This explains to me why he would put the money away, and refuse to do that which his master specifically commanded.

(7) It is also possible that the slave may have failed to “do business” with his master’s money simply because he felt that the time was too short to engage in business. At the beginning of this parable, Luke told us that Jesus spoke the parable in addition to His other words, because the people were looking for the kingdom to come immediately. One of the things which a “short-term” mindset does is to discourage “long-term” planning and investing. If you receive a check for $10,000 but know that you will have to write a check for that same amount in a day, you generally will not seek to buy a certificate of deposit with it, or to buy a savings bond, or to put the money in your savings account. You will deposit the money in your checking account, simply because you know that it will only be a short time before it will be gone.

Did the wicked slave have the same mindset? Did he convince himself that doing business was foolish and unnecessary, since the kingdom was imminent? Did he feel that long-term investing of his master’s money was just plain foolish? It may very well be so. Long-term investing is foolishness to those who have but a short-term mindset.

Here is a very real tension in Christian living. We must hold two truths in tension as we seek to apply them. On the one hand, we must live in the light of an imminent return. Christ may come at any moment, and we should both be ready and watching for His return. But we must also live wisely, making good investments for His kingdom, knowing that His return may not be as soon as we think or hope. Many foolish things have been done by those who felt that the kingdom was imminent. On the other hand, many foolish things have been done by those who feel its coming is distant. We must hold both a short-term and a long-term view of life and ministry, and we must seek to hold these in tension.

(8) The king’s wicked slave did not lose his life in this parable, but he did lose his reward. In the parable in Matthew, the wicked slave is cast into outer darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth (25:30). The rewards that could have been his were forfeited. His mina was given to the slave who had proven most diligent.

The master’s final act was to deal with His rebellious citizens, those who had become bold when he left, and had sent a delegation to invite this “king-to-be” not to return. On his return, the king commanded that his enemies, those wicked citizens of his kingdom who rejected him, be brought before him, where they would be killed. These enemies are clearly representative of those inhabitants of the nation Israel who would reject Jesus as their Messiah. Just as these people refused to have “this one” (a very demeaning expression) as their king, so the nation Israel would reject Jesus as their king. They would profess to having only one king—Caesar (John 19:15). The 23rd chapter of Luke’s gospel is filled with references to Jesus as “king,” all of which are negative.

Conclusion

In the context of Luke’s gospel, this parable now begins to make sense. Jesus was nearing Jerusalem. Expectation was at an all-time high. Everyone expected the kingdom to commence upon our Lord’s arrival. This parable was then given by our Lord. The departure of the king to a distant land, and his later return signaled a time delay in the arrival of the kingdom of God. The people expected the kingdom to be established almost immediately, but this parable taught that there were some intervening events which must take place first.

The delay of the kingdom’s arrival had at least two reasons. In the first place, the king had to go away in order to gain the right to rule. Our Lord had to lay the foundation for His kingdom by laying down His life for the sins of the world, by making a provision for righteousness on the basis of His grace, so that men could be pronounced righteous and be allowed to enter into His kingdom. Jesus had to go up to heaven to be crowned king (cf. Philippians 2:9-11), and to wait for the Father’s appointed time for Him to return and to reign.

In the second place, the delay of the kingdom provided a time for the king’s servants to be proven, to be tested, so that those who were faithful could be rewarded by greater responsibilities in the kingdom. The delay in the coming of the kingdom enables the Master to test His servants in the use of the money that has been entrusted to them. To the degree that the slaves are faithful in the use of money—a small thing—they will be given greater authority, the authority to rule in the kingdom.

And finally, while the disciples (especially) thought of the kingdom of God in terms of political revolution and of personal position and power, this parable reminded them that the coming of the kingdom would begin with a time of judgment. A judgment in terms of those who rejected Christ as Savior, and also a judging of the followers of the Lord as to their faithfulness in serving Him, which will be the basis of their rewards in the kingdom.

The text has an interesting lesson regarding Jews and Gentiles. Remember that the gospel of Luke is purposed to be an explanation of the gospel from a Gentile perspective. Now who do you think the “citizens” in this parable represent? They represent the Israelites, The mass of Jews in Jesus’ day who rejected Him as their Messiah. And who would constitute the slaves? Slaves were most often foreigners—Gentiles if you would. Jesus has once again turned the world upside-down, for it is the (Gentile) slaves who become rulers, while the Jews, the “citizens” do not even enter the kingdom, but are slaughtered outside. The Gentile thrust of this gospel is once again evident. The way to honor and position is not competition and self-assertion (as the disciples seem to have been doing), but faithful service as slaves. To seek to preserve one’s independence, however, is to invite divine judgment.

As I was studying this text I wondered what the minas stood for. What did they symbolize? At first, I was impressed with the fact that everyone of the ten slaves got the same amount of money. Thus, I concluded that the gospel was that which has been entrusted to us, that which we are to invest in, to do business with until He returns. But I have changed my mind. I think that the minas stand for money, just as they plainly do in the text. The fact is that some of us have far too much concern for money—we love it too much, and we cling to it like the rich young ruler. But there are others who, like the wicked servant, disdain it altogether, and who feel that it is wrong to have money, and even more evil to try to use it. Jesus dispels such thinking as evil and wicked, for money that is used for the kingdom of God is invested in eternity, it is laying up treasure in heaven. For some of us, this is a lesson that needs to be heeded well.

My final question is this, my friend, “Are you a citizen or a slave?” Which are you? That is the most important distinction in the world. Your eternal destiny is determined by the decision you make here. Is Jesus the Messiah, the King of the Earth, or is He one to be rejected? If He is Messiah, then you are to be His slave, doing what He has commanded, looking for His return, but “doing business” faithfully until that day. You become a slave by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s King, who came first to die for the sins of men, and who comes again as the judge of all, and the King of the Earth. Your eternal destiny is determined by whether you are a citizen or a slave. May you be a slave, for Christ’s sake, and yours. And if you are a slave, may you (and I) be a faithful slave, one to whom the master can say, “Well done, good slave.”


57 Plummer is the most detailed in his description of the differences between the two texts. He writes, “Here, Jesus is approaching Jerusalem, but has not yet entered it in triumph: apparently He is still in Jericho. In Mt. He is on the Mount of Olives a day or two after the triumphal entry. Here He addresses a mixed company publicly. In Mt. He is speaking privately to His disciples (xxiv. 3). Besides the difference in detail where the two narratives are parallel, there is a great deal in Lk. which is not represented in Mt. at all. The principal items are: (1) the introduction, ver. 11; (2) the high birth of the chief agent and his going into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, ver. 12; (3) his citizens hating him and sending an ambassage after him to repudiate him, ver. 14; (4) the signal vengeance taken upon these enemies, ver. 27; (5) the conclusion, ver. 28… . Even in the parts that are common to the two parables the differences are very considerable. (1) In the Talents we have a householder leaving home for a time, in the Pounds a nobleman going in quest of a crown; (2) the Talents are unequally distributed, the Pounds equally; (3) the sums entrusted differ enormously in amount; (4) in the Talents the rewards are the same, in the Pounds they differ and are proportionate to what has been gained; (5) in the Talents the unprofitable servant is severely punished, in the Pounds he is merely deprived of his pound. Out of about 302 words in Mt. and 286 in Lk., only about 66 words or parts of words are common to the two.” Alfred Plummer, The Gospel According to S. Luke (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1969), p. 437.

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