The Parable of the Ten Minas

Luke 19: 11-28

DIG: What misconception prompted Yeshua to tell this parable just before He entered Tziyon? Who is the Man of noble birth? Where did he go? Who are his servants? His enemies? What are they to do in his absence? How do they regard him? How does the master repay the first and second servants? How is the third servant’s report influenced by a faulty perception of his master? What was his punishment?

REFLECT: What talents and resources do you think Jesus has left with you? How do you feel about the way you have “invested” them?

The one main point to the parable of the ten minas is that there will be a delay in the promised messianic Kingdom; but when it comes, loyal subjects of the King who exercised proper stewardship of what was given to them will be rewarded, while those who would not accept His kingship will be punished.

While they were listening to this, Jesus went on to tell His talmidim a parable to correct a misconception, because He was near Yerushalayim and the people thought that the messianic kingdom of God was going to appear at once (Luke 19:11). During Christ’s earthly ministry He had offered Isra’el the messianic Kingdom that would be established if the nation would receive Him as Lord and Savior. It was a legitimate offer. But the nation rejected Him (see Ek – It is only by Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons, that This Fellow Drives Out Demons) so the Kingdom had to be postponed. They had no idea for how long the delay would be because the Church Age (see my commentary on HebrewsThe Dispensation of Grace) was a mystery to them (Ephesians 5:32).

Christ had previously taught that the generation of His day would not see the Kingdom (Luke 17:22) because it would be postponed indefinitely to some future time. The Lord’s words did not negate the concept of a genuine offer of the Kingdom in His day, nor deny the concept of a literal Kingdom in a future day. Rather, this parable was designed to teach the truth concerning the postponement of the messianic Kingdom.1230 Like the man of noble birth, Jesus will receive His Kingdom, but He will also entrust His loyal servants with much and expect a good return on all that He invested in them.1231

The first scene: He said: The nobleman clearly represents Jesus. Because the Twelve and the people thought the Kingdom was to be set up immediately, Yeshua said the nobleman in the parable went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. He would have to leave before his Kingdom was set up. So before leaving he called ten of His servants and gave them ten minas, one apiece. A mina was about three months wages so its value was considerable. They were to invest the money while he was gone. “Put this money to work,” he said, “until I come back” (Luke 19:12-13).

But some of his subjects hated him and sent a delegation (see Lg – The Great Sanhedrin) after him to say, “We don’t want this man to be our king” (Luke 19:14). Obviously, this group represented pharisaic Judaism in particular and the nation of Isra’el in general. With this the first scene ends.

The second scene: He was made king, however, and returned home after a long time. What is emphasized here is his kingly authority, not a territory per se. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it (Luke 19:15).

The first one came and said, “Sir, your mina has earned ten more.” “Well done, my good servant!” His master replied. “Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities” (Luke 19:16-17).

The second came and said, “Sir, your mina has earned five more.” His master answered, “You take charge of five cities” (Luke 19:18-19).

Then another (Greek: heteros, meaning another of a different kind) servant came and said, “Sir, here is your mina that you gave me; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 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” (Luke 19:20-21). The wicked servant defended his behavior on the grounds of the nobleman’s being a hard man. The hard quality is then described as taking an unusually high margin of profit from his investments and reaping a harvest that others had produced. In his defense the wicked servant sought to paint a negative picture of the nobleman’s character. Readers of the story, however, would know this was incorrect because of his generosity in verses 17 and 19.1232

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? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest” (Luke 19:22-23)? If the wicked subject was correct in his assessment of his master (which he wasn’t), then he should have at least put the money in the bank. Then the king would have at least received his money back with interest. The implication was that the subject did not really believe that the king would come back. He was not at all concerned about the king’s return so he did not bother with the king’s business. He was one of the subjects who hated him and didn’t want the nobleman to be his king (Luke 19:14).1233

Then he said to those standing by, “Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas,” the one who had done the most for the king. “Sir,” they said, “he already has ten!” The king replied, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away (Luke 19:24-26). The one who served faithfully is rewarded with even more.the king’s

The third scene: Jesus must have looked around at the long-bearded hypocritical Pharisees present in His audience and continued with the parable: The king said, "But those enemies of mine who rebelled and did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me” (Luke 19:27). In contrast with the two servants who had expected his return, the enemies of the king were put to death in his presence. The ones who practice lawlessness will be excluded. At that time Jesus will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23)! The analogy of this parable was clear to Jesus’ hearers. Messiah was going away to receive a kingship. When He returned, He would establish His messianic Kingdom. Until that time His faithful servants were to fulfill the responsibilities He gave them. On His return He would reward the faithful commensurate with their service to Him, and His enemies would be judged before Him (see my commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment).1234

After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up the seventeen miles to the City He had just prophesied against (Luke 19:28).

What have we done with the gifts and talents God has given us? Have we nurtured them through prayer and action? Have we allowed the Ruach HaKodesh to purify us and conform us into the image of Christ? Are we working with Him in ministry, while He is preparing a home for us in heaven? It is both a high privilege and a demanding calling: to love and worship God and to love and serve others. Because we are working in our Father’s kingdom, we do not work with purely human wisdom or human effort. As His faithful servants, our reward will be based on the stewardship of the gifts He has given us.

Father, help us to surrender our human wisdom so that Your wisdom may blossom within us. We willingly embrace the way in which You have called us to serve. Holy Spirit, multiply our gifts in us and empower us, that Your glory will be made obvious to everyone we meet.1235


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