O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jeremiah 17:5-10: Those who trust in the Lord will be blessed
Psalm 1: The Lord watches over the way of the righteous
Proverbs 27:18: Whoever looks after their master will be honored
Luke 19:11-27: To everyone who has, more will be given
In the context preceding this parable we read the story of Jesus interacting with Zacchaeus of Jericho who was the chief tax collector. We know from history that tax collectors are pretty low in the eyes of the Jews. Since Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector, he probably was considered the chief low-life.
During his dinner with Jesus, Zacchaeus promises to give half of his possessions to the poor, and if he had cheated anyone out of anything he would pay back four times the amount (Luke 19:8).
Jesus then says “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9). Jesus is saying this meant that Zacchaeus had just demonstrated the fruit of repentance, proving his faith in Jesus as God.
The people hearing this, especially the disciples, may have been wondering how the chief low-life could make it into Heaven, and they may have been wondering why Jesus would choose someone like that to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven. This may have also got them wondering if the chief low-life can make it into heaven, then what exactly is expected of those who commit themselves to follow Jesus?
Luke 19:11 shows us that Jesus was traveling when he told the story of the Ten Servants (also known as the Ten Talents), and Luke tells us that Jesus told the story to “correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away” (Luke 19:11). Jesus wanted to teach them that the Kingdom they were waiting for was going to be postponed.
NOTE: They may also have been wondering about when the Kingdom of the Messiah was coming since Jesus said that salvation was today.
The story Jesus tells is of a noble who was called away to a distant “empire” to be crowned king and then return.
NOTE: This apparently had happened to Herrod’s son. (Jesus using current events to teach)
Anticipating a long journey, the noble called together ten servants and gave them about three months’ wages worth of silver with the intent that they would invest it for him while he was away. While he was away, his people sent a delegation after him to say they did not want him to be their king. Scripture tells us that his people hated him…
The noble/king makes it back home, calls the servants he had given money to, and asks what they had done with the money and their profits.
The First made ten times as much money back and is called a trustworthy servant and is given ten cities to govern.
The Second reported that they had earned five times as much back and were given five cites to govern.
The Third said that he hid the money to keep it safe. He explained that he was afraid of the noble/king because the king was a hard man to deal with, describing him as a man who took what was not his and harvested crops that did not belong to him.
The king scolds the third servant, takes his money, and gives it to the guy who earned the most. The man protests and says that is not fair, and the king replies in Luke 19: 26 with something like “yeah…well”
The hard part of this story is that the king says, “and now these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king-bring them in and execute them right here in my presence” (Luke 19:26).
This was never a story about money, nor is this a story about Zacchaeus. Jesus is a nobleman who had gone to a distant empire. Jesus returned to the father because of his rejection as the Messiah and of his kingdom. Due to his absence, He had conferred a level of responsibility onto his servants. Unfortunately, there will be opposition to him in his absence, just like when he was here among us. Regardless of the opposition, Jesus expects us to be loyal and faithful, unlike the third servant who hid the money.
In this story, there was a rebellion while the King was away, and the people of his kingdom did not want the King to rule in their lives, just like many people today. The bad news is that those who rebel against the King get executed.
This story and the words of the King are hard to take; they are not words that we are comfortable hearing from Jesus. Why do you think he said them?
The Take-Away: Jesus is the King…accept it.
O Lord, hear me as I pray, listen to my cry for help.
God my King, I pray to no one but you.
I worship you, God, with the deepest awe, because of your unfailing love.
Lead me along the right path, Lord, may the way I should go plain for me to follow.
And as I journey through this life, I take refuge in your mercy; I rejoice in your protection; for you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround me with your shield of love. Amen.