Reading: Luke 19:11-27
The reading from the Gospel today draws our attention to the time between the Lord’s ascension and his return in glory, a time during which we are called to invest (ourselves) and work hard in order to receive the crown of salvation on the day of judgment. Our Lord Jesus Christ uses the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19:11–27 to teach us about the coming kingdom of God on earth. The circumstance of the story is the final trip to Jerusalem for our Lord Jesus. Many people in the crowd along the road believed that Jesus was going to Jerusalem in order to establish His earthly kingdom immediately. (But, He was going to Jerusalem in order to die, as He had stated in Luke 18:33.) Jesus used this parable to dispel any hopeful gossips that the time of the kingdom had arrived.
In the parable, a nobleman leaves for a foreign country in order to be made king. Before he left, he gave ten minas to ten of his servants (Luke 19:12–13). A mina was a good sum of money (about three months’ wages), and the future king said, “Put this money to work . . . until I come back” (verse 13). The man of noble birth of this story is encouraging us to invest our minas or talents in order to receive the crown of salvation on the day of judgment.
However, the man’s subjects “hated him” and sent word to him that they refused to acknowledge his kingship (Luke 19:14). They did not want him to rule over them. When the man was crowned king, he returned to his kingdom and began to set things right. First, he called the ten servants to whom he had loaned the minas. They each gave an account for how they had used the money. The first servant showed that his mina had earned ten more. The king was pleased, saying, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities” (verse 17). The next servant’s investment had yielded five additional minas, and that servant was rewarded with charge of five cities (verses 18–19).
Then came a servant who reported that he had done nothing with his mina except hide it in a cloth (Luke 19:20). His reason: “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” (verse 21). The king responded to the servant’s description of him as “hard” by showing hardness, calling him a “wicked servant” and commanding for his mina to be given to the one who had earned ten (verses 22 and 24). Some bystanders said, “Sir . . . he already has ten!” and 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” (verses 25–26).
Finally, the king commanded that his enemies—those who had rebelled against his authority—be brought before him. Right there in the king’s presence, they were executed (Luke 19:27).
In this parable, Jesus teaches that the kingdom was not going to appear immediately. There would be a period of time, during which the king would be absent before the kingdom would be set up.
The nobleman in the parable is Jesus, who left this world but who will return as King someday. The servants the king charges with a task represent us, the followers of Jesus. The Lord has given us a valuable commission, and we must be faithful to serve Him until He returns. Upon His return, Jesus will ascertain the faithfulness of His own people (see Romans 14:10–12). There is work to be done (John 9:4), and we must use what God has given us for His glory. There are promised rewards for those who are faithful in their charge.
The enemies who rejected the king in the parable are representative of the Jewish nation that rejected Christ while He walked on earth—and everyone who still denies Him today. When Jesus returns to establish His kingdom, one of the first things He will do is utterly defeat His enemies (Revelation 19:11–15). It does not pay to fight against the King of kings.
The Parable of the Ten Minas is similar to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14–30. Some people assume that they are the same parable, but there are enough differences to warrant a distinction: the parable of the minas was told on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem; the parable of the talents was told later on the Mount of Olives. The audience for the parable of the minas was a large crowd; the audience for the parable of the talents was the disciples by themselves. The parable of the minas deals with two classes of people: servants and enemies; the parable of the talents deals only with professed servants. In the parable of the minas, each servant receives the same amount; in the parable of the talents, each servant receives a different amount (and talents are worth far more than minas). Also, the return is different: in the parable of the minas, the servants report ten-fold and five-fold earnings; in the parable of the talents, all the good servants double their investment. In the former, the servants received identical gifts; in the latter, the good servants showed identical faithfulness.
It should be noted that the king does not take back the benefice, or even the money that he has entrusted to his servants. He had only asked them to make his property bear fruit during his journey.
"Lord, come and heal us from the false images we have of you that keep us away from you in an attitude of fear and mistrust. Give us the grace to discover you as God who gives himself entirely to his children, especially when he shows them mercy. » Amen.
The Most Rev Dr James R. Wong Yin Song
Diocesan Bishop of Seychelles and
Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean