Serving Now & Reaping Later
Luk 19:11 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.
Luk 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luk 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luk 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Luk 19:15 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.
Luk 19:16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
Luk 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Luk 19:18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
Luk 19:19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
Luk 19:20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
Luk 19:21 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.
Luk 19:22 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:
Luk 19:23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
Luk 19:24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
Luk 19:25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
Luk 19:26 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.
Luk 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
The very starting point of this parable is to grasp the understanding of the disciples in their current thinking. The idea that overwhelmed their minds was the thought that the literal Kingdom of God should appear very soon. This was not the case however, for it has been 2000 years and Christ has ascended into the heavens and He has still not returned to the very earth He created. So then we surmise quite easily that the parable is granted to prepare the misdirected disciples for a long abstinence from their King.
First Christ would address the fact that He is going away to receive the Kingdom and would return to rule it. He did ascend 40 days after His resurrection and will come back to rule and reign. The parable would serve as an object lesson to the disciples no doubt. The obvious and recent events in the history of Jericho would play a major role in illustrating His teaching, as He is in Jericho at the time of this lesson. This lesson would be based on an actual historical event to help them understand His lesson better, and it shall help to serve us as well.
"He said therefore, A certain noblemen went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. There was a singular fitness in the Master’s choice of a framework for his parable, which at first sight would seem strange and unreal. Two nobles, Herod and Archelaus, in that age had literally gone from Jericho, where the Speaker of the parable-story then was, to a far country across the sea—to Rome, to receive a kingdom from Caesar.
Herod the Greats son Archelaus, took the necessary journey into Rome (as was the official customs and duty in that day under Roman rule) to receive the official blessing to rule the area left by his father for him. Josephus the Jewish historian records this significant event for us in his own work and writings (Antiquities of the Jews 14.14;17:9). Many Jews hating the oppression of not being free also sent and followed after Archelaus, traveling to Rome (50 men) to lodge complaints against him.
But his citizens hated him. Again history supplies the framework. This was what the Jews had done in
the case of Archelaus. They had sent a hostile deputation to complain of their future king before the emperor’s court at Rome. In the parable, in these "citizens who hated him" a thinly veiled picture is given of those Jews who utterly rejected the mission of Jesus, and by whose designs the Crucifixion was brought about.
|Remains of Herod's Palace in Jericho|
Archelaus was granted the right to rule, not as a king, but still a ruler of the land. As you can suppose the faithful would have been rewarded, and cruelty would be given as retribution to those who stood opposed as enemies to his rule. Archelaus was known as a cruel man, and very immoral at that. He took his brothers wife as his own while his wife was still alive. Augustus (Caesar) would eventually respond to the surplus of complaints that were mounting by Jews and Samaritans alike by exiling Archelaus to Gaul in 6 AD for his terrible incompetence at ruling the land. However the Jews would have to live in his insensibilities for a time. Archelaus was the full brother of Herod Antipas.
The lessons will now become clear as Jesus applies this historical understanding of the Roman custom to himself. He is going away to receive a kingdom from the Father. The Jews and others do not want Him as their King. However He is receiving the kingship and authority regardless of who accepts the reality. When he comes back, He will find many types of people, caught in time and forever anchored in their spiritual condition in that day, and He will proceed to judge them accordingly. His command is occupy, or reside in His place of business, until He returns. Some will be doing just this very thing, and others, they will be rejecting the kingdom and rebelling against it all together. We must be very clear, this parable speaks of rewards for work, not working for entrance into the kingdom. To be saved it is a free gift. To earn rewards as citizens of the kingdom, it takes being busy about the Kings service.
First we shall observe the ones who serve faithfully. They invest in His work by taking what they have been given and multiplying it. These are workers for Christ. They serve out of love and loyalty. They are working for the coming kingdom. In the coming kingdom they will be rewarded accordingly, and nothing will go unnoticed. Some will be able to do greater things than other, as we all have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit, and this is noted in the parable of the talents, which is not this parable. Here the servants are given the same amount, not differing amounts. Each was given about 3 months wages, and the message becomes very clear, that all will be rewarded who invest in the Kingdom and it's glory. Since we all have the same starting point (which seems to be representing the gospel - we all have the same message) to what measure you invest will be the measure in which you are rewarded.
Secondly there will those who do nothing with what they have been entrusted with. They will not be judged as the rebells, but they are not rewarded on par with those who invested in the kingdom. What they have is taken and given to another. To him that has it shall be given, and to those who have not, what they have is taken and given to him that has (Luke 19:26).
Thirdly, those who rejected the King will be judged by Him. These are they who reject Christ. Let us warn people faithfully that regardless of what the world wants or says, Christ is coming and He will be King. Though this is the hope and joy of Christians, the world fiercely fights against the idea of His rule. This should not surprise us though, for this is the nature of sinners to rebells against a holy God. How sad for someone to be on the wrong side of this kingdom. May we earn rewards by serving faithfully and spreading the good news of the gospel. Let us serve from the heart, for that is proper motivation. Let us serve for reward, for that is expecting motivation, but let us also serve out of necessity, for people are lost and need Christ. How much hate must be in a persons heart to know about Jesus and mot share Him.