Harmony of the Gospels

                                                                                                                                                             November 19, 2006
(40) Parable-The Ten Pounds
Luke 19:11-27

11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem from Jericho to celebrate the Passover with His disciples and others, He told a parable to the crowd to show that the kingdom they had been telling others about would not be established immediately as they had thought. Instead, according to what the Father had planned, He must go to the Cross first.

12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

Since Jesus had been rejected by the Jewish people, the kingdom would be delayed, and during the time between His First and Second Coming something new (the church) would be set up. That’s what He was telling Peter when He said, “And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. (Mt 16:18). It’s during this interval of time that His followers are to be busy.

In the parable, the Lord Jesus Himself is the certain nobleman who went to heaven to wait for the time when He would return and set up His kingdom on earth.

This parable has a historical parallel, since kings in Roman provinces like Galilee and Perea actually went to Rome to receive their kingdoms. The dynasty established by the Herod family was dependent on Rome for ruling power, and Herod the Great had gone to Rome to be given his kingdom.

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

The ten servants symbolize His disciples. He gave each one a pound (about $16.50 in American money) and told them to do business with this pound until He came again. The servants were expected to invest their funds, and to give an account when their master returned. The activity of professing believers during the church age can be seen here. We have a dual assignment: to work, and to wait, and we must do both faithfully.

Each servant was given one pound, signifying equal opportunity. Despite the fact that there are differences in the talents and abilities of the servants of the Lord, there are some things which they have in common, such as the privileges of sharing the gospel, and representing Christ to the world, and the privilege of prayer.

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

The citizens represent the Jewish nation, who declared at Jesus’ trial, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). They not only rejected Him, but even after His departure, they sent a delegation after him, saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” The message might represent their treatment of Christ’s servants such as Stephen and other martyrs.

15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

Here the Lord is seen as the nobleman, returning to set up His kingdom. Then He will reckon with those to whom He gave the money.

Today, believers will be reviewed as far as their service is concerned at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This takes place in heaven, following the Rapture. The faithful Jewish remnant who will witness for Christ during the Tribulation Period will be reviewed at Christ’s Second Coming. This is the judgment that seems to be the theme of this passage.

Christ’s first coming was as Savior; but when He returns, it will be as Judge. False teachers and Christ-rejecters will be cast away (vss. 26–27).

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

The first servant had earned ten pounds with the one pound that had been entrusted to him. He had an awareness that the money was not his own (“thy pound”) and he used it as best he could in the advancement of his master’s interests.

17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

The master praised him for being faithful in a very little. This is a reminder that those with relative small gifts and opportunities are just as responsibly to use them faithfully as those who are given much more.

His reward was to have authority over ten cities. It was incomparably greater than the ten pounds warranted. It should also be noted that the awards were distributed according to the servants diligence: the one with ten pounds was given ten cities, the one who gained five pounds, five cities (v. 19), and so on. Rewards for faithful service apparently are linked with rule in Christ’s kingdom. The extent to which a disciple will rule is determined by the measure of his devotion and the effort expended.

18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

The second servant had earned five pounds with his original pound. Although he earned less than the first man he was not reprimanded for his smaller profit. Instead, he was commended and his reward was to be over five cities.

20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

The third came with nothing but excuses. He returned the pound which he had carefully kept in a handkerchief. He had earned nothing with it. And why didn’t he? He, as much as blamed the nobleman for it. He said the nobleman was an stern man who expected returns without spending anything. But his own words condemned him. If he thought the nobleman was like that, the least he could have done was to turn the pound over to a bank so that it might earn some interest.

Note that this man said, “I feared thee.” His spineless fear didn’t come from love or reverence for his master, but was tainted with contempt for him. If he had a true regard for the master it would have provoked a desire to please the master by working to make a profit for him.

22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

In quoting the words of the nobleman, Jesus did not acknowledge that what the man knew about the nobleman was true. It was simply the sinful heart of the servant that blamed the master for his own laziness. But if he really believed them he should have acted accordingly.

The servant considered himself honest because he returned the pound with no loss; the master called him wicked because he returned it with no gain.

Verse 23 seems to suggest that we should either put everything we have to work for the Lord, or turn it over to someone else who will use it for Him.

24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

The third servant suffered a loss of reward, but no other punishment is specified. There is apparently no question as to his salvation.

The nobleman’s ruling on the third servant was to take the pound from him, and give it to the first who had earned the ten pounds. If we don’t use our opportunities for the Lord, they will be taken from us. On the other hand, if we are faithful in a very little, God will see that we will never lack the means to serve Him even more. It may seem unfair to some that the pound was given to the man who already had ten, but it is a fixed principle in the spiritual life that those who love Him and serve Him passionately are given ever-widening areas of opportunity. Failure to take advantage of the opportunities results in a loss of all.

26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

The recipients of God’s grace inherit blessings beyond measure in addition to eternal life and God’s approval (Rom.8:32). But those who despise the riches of God’s goodness, mercy, and long-suffering (Rom. 2:4), burying them in the ground and clinging instead to the insignificant and temporary goods of this world will ultimately lose everything they have (john 12:25).

27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

The citizens who would not have the nobleman as their ruler are denounced as enemies and doomed to death. This was a sad prediction of the fate of all who reject Christ.


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