The Minas

“While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. “And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ “When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. “The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ “The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ “And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ “Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ “He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? ‘Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ “Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ “And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” (Luke 19:11-17)

With this last Parable of Jesus the “The Minas” we come to the conclusion of our study of the Parables of Jesus. We have covered the Parables in the book of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Parable that we are looking at today has some similarities to the Parable of “The Talents.” (Matthew 25:14-30)

The minas teaches us near the same lesson as the talents. We are to be in faithful service to the Lord as we await His return. There are some differences between the two as the setting of each Parable is different and the details are slightly different. The setting of this Parable is told on the way to Jerusalem and shortly before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. (Luke 19:28) The Talents was told during His last week while in Jerusalem. The Parable of the minas was told to correct the misunderstandings about the Kingdom of God.

“They supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.” (Luke 19:11) Some of those following Jesus expected the Kingdom of God to appear immediately but Jesus had already taught them that the Kingdom of God would not come by observation. “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:20-21) Jesus was telling this Parable to teach them that the Kingdom of God would not be immediate but there would be a time of faithful service in His absence.

It is interesting that Jesus used an historical event of Archelaus as a basis for this Parable. Herod Archelaus who lived from 23 B.C. to 18 A.D. was the son of Herold the Great. After Herold the Great’s death his son Archelaus went to Rome to secure permission to reign as a client king over Samaria, Judea and the biblical land of Edom. All of this land was under the control of Rome. His petition was opposed by a delegation of his own subjects. In spite of the opposition Rome granted him authority and he ruled for nine years. (4 B.C. to 6 A.D.) Archelaus’ reign ended when the Emperor Augustus removed him and the Romans then ruled Judea under direct rule. Archelaus is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew 2:13-23 when the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him to take Mary and flee to Egypt. Herold the Great had ordered that all the male children under two years old were to be killed. When Herold the Great died Joseph was told to return to Israel. But Joseph learning that Archelaus had taken the throne moved to the region of Galilee. Matthew explains that this is the reason the Jesus was raised in Nazareth than in Bethlehem.

In the beginning and at the end of this Parable of the minas may refer to the journey of Archelaus to Rome to seek permission to rule. “So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” (Luke 19:12, 14, 27)

The Parable tells the story of a nobleman who went away to receive a kingdom and then would return. Before leaving he calls ten of his servants and giving them each one mina. A mina is about three month’s wages, whereas in the Talents one talent is worth about twenty years of labor. He gives each of his servant’s instruction to do business with the mina that he had given them. The citizens of the country are displeased that the nobleman should be given reign over them and send a delegation to oppose him. In spite of the opposition the nobleman is given rule and he returns and asks his servants to give an accounting of what they had done with the mina he had given them.

One of the savants had gained ten minas and was rewarded with charge over ten cities. Another servant gained five minas and was rewarded with charge over five cities. Another servant simply returned the mina that he had received from the nobleman. The nobleman was angered that the servant had not done anything with the mina and gave it to the one who had earned ten. Objections to this action by the nobleman are raised and the enemies of the nobleman are killed.

Looking at this Parable we see first that the Kingdom of God will not appear immediately as the Lord will be going away to receive His Kingdom. This the Lord did when He ascended to heaven and now sits at the right had of the Father. “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”‘ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:30-36)

Jesus reigns now but His Kingdom is not readily visible to those who have rejected Him. This fulfills prophecy that Jesus would rule in the midst of His enemies. “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” (Psalm 110:1-2) To those who will not submit to His authority they will be destroyed. “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14) The present day rejection of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords does not mean that His reign has not begun.

What is reveled is the role of the disciples of Jesus between His departure and His return. Jesus, as the noblemen, said “Do business until I come.” As Disciples of Christ we are to be faithful while we await the return of our King. This Parable also describes the reckoning that awaits the Christian according to the service He has performed in the time of his waiting for the return of the Lord. For some this reckoning with be a blessing and to others it will not.

This Parable also teaches that for those who do not submit to the King of kings there will be punishment waiting for them. These are the enemies of Jesus who do not wish to have Him as their King. When Christ returns He will render punishment upon them. “And to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)

For those of us who are disciples of Jesus the question becomes when He comes will He find that we have been faithful in the use of what He has given us? “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” (Luke 19:26)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 31, 2017

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