Post Author: Bill Pratt
Jesus frequently used parables to teach his disciples important concepts about the kingdom of God. We, as Christians 2,000 years removed, often have difficulty interpreting the meaning of these parables. Fortunately, with some effort we can recover the major thrusts.
The Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27) is spoken by Jesus just before he enters Jerusalem for the last time. There are five major characters. The characters are: (1) the man of noble birth, (2) the subjects who hated him, (3) the servant who earned ten minas, (4) the servant who earned five minas, and (5) the servant who earned nothing.
Each of these plays an important role. The man of noble birth is clearly meant to be Jesus, himself. He is to receive a kingdom and then return. The subjects who hated the man of noble birth represent the Jews who have rejected Jesus, and especially the religious leaders. The servant who earns ten minas and the servant who earns five minas both represent exemplary disciples of Jesus. The servant who earns nothing represents an unfruitful disciple of Jesus.
With the characters identified, we can piece together the meaning of the narrative.
A man of noble birth (Jesus) prepares to travel to a distant country and receive his kingdom (the kingdom of God). Before he leaves, he gives a single mina (responsibilities, abilities, opportunities, gospel message) to each of his servants (disciples) and instructs them to put the money to work (be fruitful with what Jesus has given them). A delegation of subjects who hate the man of noble birth (unbelieving Jews) protest his reception of the kingdom.
Upon the man’s return (Jesus’ second coming at the consummation of the kingdom of God) he finds two servants (disciples) who invested (used their God-given abilities and opportunities) wisely. To these, he gives cities (heavenly rewards). The servant (disciple) who does not invest the mina (use the abilities or fulfill the responsibilities Jesus gave him) is reprimanded and has his mina taken from him and given to the servant (disciple) who earned ten minas. Finally, the subjects (unbelieving Jews) who hated the man of noble birth (Jesus) are executed (judged) for their rejection of the king (Jesus).
There seem to be at least five major points that the parable communicates. First, Jesus will leave his disciples for an undetermined amount of time. Second, Jesus will return to consummate his kingdom some time in the future. Third, disciples of Jesus who are good stewards in his absence will receive incredible rewards from him upon his return. Fourth, disciples of Jesus who are poor stewards in his absence will have their rewards taken away and given to the disciples who are good stewards. Fifth, those who reject Jesus as the rightful king will face a terrible judgment upon his return.
That’s my take on it, after studying it for a couple weeks and reading some good commentaries. Anybody see something different? What are some applications that we can take from this parable?