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19. The Ten Pounds

The Passage:
Luke 19:11-27

The Parameters

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem is about to happen. He is on the road to Jerusalem and is approaching the city.

When Herod the Great died, he left his reign in the hands of three people: Philip, Herod and Archelaus. Archelaus was to rule over Judea. There were a group of Jews that did not want Archelaus to rule because of his wickedness, ego, etc. Before Archelaus could take the throne, he had to be confirmed in Rome by Caesar that it was his right to rule in Judah, so he had to make a trip to Rome. There was a group of Jews that went to Rome to see Caesar to complain about Archelaus. Caesar let Archelaus go ahead and take his throne and when Archelaus went back to Judah, he killed all those who had complained. That is the historical background of this story.

The Problem

The disciples were under the impression that the kingdom of God was shortly to appear and Jesus was going to establish the kingdom on earth during his life. Jesus told this parable to correct their mistaken notion. (c.f. 19:11)

The Progression

The nobleman goes away to receive a kingdom. The NIV has translated this wrong. He is not “appointed” king. He already is king. He was born king. It is like the Archelaus story. Archelaus was already born king. He needed to be confirmed or approved by Caesar.

The nobleman gave each slave three months wages. Notice each one is given an equal amount. What they are told to do is “put it to work” until he returned. They will be held accountable when he came back.

In vs. 14 the citizens complained. Certainly the hearers of this parable would be able to identify with the Archelaus parallel.

vs. 15 The nobleman came back and wanted to see what his slaves had done.

    The first slave

1000% return on his money. He receives a commendation and gets 10 cities to rule over.

    The second slave

500% return. No commendation. He gets 5 cities. His reward is fair. Reward according to merit.

    Third slave

Another slave (e{tero" another of a different kind) kept the pound hidden. He did not use it or invest it. He charged his master with greed and getting profit for what he didn’t earn. The master judged the slave for not acting on his own conclusions. He tells the slave that he should have put it in the bank and then he would have drawn interest - which is what? ... earning profit without working... The slave is called worthless and his money is taken away from him and given to the one who earned ten pounds.

Mat 13:12; 25:29; Mar 4:25 and Luk 8:18 all say that to whomever has, will more be given and whoever does not have, what they have will be taken away. This parable helps explain those passages.

The third slave lacked understanding / faith - he did not act on what he knew. What you don’t use, you lose. He lost the opportunity to do any more.

Those enemies of mine are the ones who outright rejected the king. They are judged more severely than the wicked slave.

I think the third slave represents Israel who thought that God was a hard master. They had this complicated legal system which was a burden to live under

The Point

The Messianic Kingdom has been postponed, but the responsibilities of the subjects has not.

The Relation of the Parable to the Kingdom Program of God

In light of the postponement of the Messianic Kingdom, each disciple has been given an equal entrustment to be invested in the Kingdom, knowing that the King will return to reward faithfulness and to remove the enemies of the kingdom. Those found to be faithful to their responsibilities are given more responsibilities in the kingdom.

The Particulars

Bema seat - strictly for rewards. At the Olympics, those that win get gold, silver and bronze medals. Those that don’t win, don’t get punished, they just don’t get medals. What are we going to do with the rewards in heaven? Pentecost says we will cast them at the feet of Jesus. The more rewards we get, the better we will be able to worship.

The Principles

  • How are we equal? All of us have one life and the gospel message that we need to share. All of us have spiritual gifts to use.
  • Though the kingdom is delayed, its future is certain. So, don’t blow off the kingdom - seek first the kingdom.
  • Christ has delegated responsibilities for the present and we will be evaluated at his return.
  • Faithfulness now, brings proportionate rewards later.
  • Unfaithfulness will result in loss of rewards
  • Open rejection merits severity of punishment. Somehow, there will be hotter places in hell.

Related Topics: Spiritual Life

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