Luke 19:11-27 Making Long-Term Investments For The Lord.
We are told by Luke that this parable was given because people “thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately” (v.11 Cf. Acts 1:6). Some things haven’t changed. There are still people today who believe in the doctrine of immanence, and coupled with this is the belief that the kingdom of God will come with Jesus returning immanently and cataclysmically as a political leader with his seat in the middle east. Luke had just noted that even with His third prediction of His death, burial, and resurrection, even His closest disciples didn’t understand Him (18:31-34). His kingdom was always intended to be one of Him as prophet, priest, and king-the threefold office to which He was anointed. His kingship is based on His word and priestly ministry.
All Jesus’ parables on the kingdom of God stress the steady long-term growth of His kingdom, and this one is no different. The nobleman here is Jesus, who left His heavenly abode “to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (v.12). With His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus received a kingdom, and with His ascension He returned to then begin His reign. Meanwhile on earth He has called His servants to “do business” till He returns (v.13). Our business that we are to do is that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (11:2). “His citizens” are clearly the apostate Jewish leadership and their followers who said “We will not have this man to reign over us” (v. 14 Cf. Jn. 1:11). It is clear that the Lord expects us to return to Him something for His investment in us (v.15).
Each of the three servants received one mina (approximately three months worth of salary), with one earning ten more, and one five more (vv.16-19). As with the parable of the steward, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (16:10). The Lord’s plan is to use the church to spread His kingdom (vv. 20-23). However, though the LORD no longer physically dwells on the earth, unlike the Master in this parable, He does work through us. Some sow, and some water, but it is still God who gives the increase, just as with literal planting and harvesting (Cf. I Cor. 3:6-7; Jn. 4:37-38). In conclusion, there are two groups in view-those who have varying degrees of productivity, and those who remain outside the kingdom (vv. 24-27).
There are some further points that flow from this parable. Firstly, it is important to keep in mind the context. What preceded this parable was the encounter with Zacchaeus, who was prepared to sacrifice a lot to follow Jesus. Also, what follows this parable is Jesus triumphant entrance into Jerusalem as King-this was and is the nature of His kingdom reign (vv. 28-40). Secondly, people will be judged by their own words-in this case confessions of defeat and acquiescence to opponents of the kingdom (v. 22). Thirdly, the Lord tests His people with small things before He gives them greater responsibilities and opportunities. Therefore, it is important to not grumble with what we have been given but to be as faithful as we can possibly be with what we have received.