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Luke 19:11-27 – The Parable of the Ten Minas

As Jesus approached Jerusalem the crowd expected that the kingdom of God was about to appear immediately. Jesus provides a corrective in the Parable of the Ten Minas.

Jesus is the nobleman about to leave for a far country where he will be made king before his return. Jesus, the son of God, will soon depart from Jerusalem to the heavenly country where at the right hand of the Father he will be given all dominion and kingdom.

The bulk of the parable is concerned with what happens in the soon-to-be-king’s absence. There are two parties who remain during the nobleman’s departure – his servants (the disciples) and his fellow countrymen (the Jewish leaders).

The servants are entrusted with a mina each (3 months’ worth of wages). They are specifically told to engage in business until the nobleman’s return. Upon the return of the newly crowned king the servants give an accounting of the investments. One servant has grown a 1 mina into 10 minas (2 ½ years income) and another 1 mina into 5 minas (1 ¼ years income). Each servant is commended for their faithfulness and rewarded with delegated authority over some portion of the kingdom – 10 or 5 cities.

The mina represents the word of God, the gospel, which has been entrusted to Jesus’ disciples. They are to engage in business according to their abilities i.e. as shrewd managers they are to extend the kingdom.

One servant simply returns the mina that was entrusted to him. The king calls him a wicked servant. He is wicked because he is disobedient. The servant was specifically told to invest and engage in business. While he had the gospel it neither produced obedience in the disciple nor did he share the gospel with others. In the end this disciple has nothing. Even the word that he had is taken from him.

Finally, we return to the nobleman’s country men (the religious leaders). When the nobleman was travelling to be made king, they had sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ Nevertheless, Jesus receives the kingdom from his Father. On his return and following the judgment of disciples, the king says, “as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” Rejecting the king means one cannot continue to live in the king’s land. The literal fulfilment of this prophetic-aspect of the parable was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Jesus, using the means of the Roman army, caused Jerusalem and the temple to be destroyed and the people driven from the city.

The point of the parable is to (1) indicate that kingdom is not yet about to appear in glory (2) to urge a faithfulness with regard to having God’s word such that it produces fruit (3) to warn against disobedience or a rejection of the king.

The parable of the ten minas (or the ten servants) – to the one who has been given the Word more will be given, to the one who has not even the little he has will be taken away from him, and woe to those who reject Christ the king!