Summary: “I’ll Be Back!” 1) So get busy with the gospel 2) Or be treated like a hostile
“I’ll be back!” (Said in best Arnold S. voice.) What? Don’t I intimidate you like the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger? Actually you probably wouldn’t find him very intimidating either. Sure he’s 250 lbs. of muscle but he’s always struck me as a big teddy bear, especially since that movie Kindergarten Cop. But you do realize that he’s coming back, don’t you? Arnold is almost done serving as governor of California and word has it that he’ll go back to making movies. I know. I’m not sure that’s good for moviegoers either. But Schwarzenegger did say: “I’ll be back!” so it pays to be ready.
There is someone else who has promised to come back. He probably was never as muscled as Arnold but nevertheless he is a lot more intimidating than the Terminator. That person is Jesus. Jesus, intimidating? He will be if we don’t take seriously the words of our text this morning. Because Jesus promised to come back we’ll want to get busy with the gospel or be treated like a hostile when he returns.
Our text is the Parable of the Ten Minas. In this parable a man of noble birth went away to be crowned king much as Herod’s son, Archelaus, had done when he went to Rome to secure the throne of Judea. And just as the Jews had sent a delegation to tell Rome they didn’t want Archelaus as their king, so in this parable the local citizens sent a delegation to contest the nobleman’s crowning.
The nobleman in the parable represents Jesus. In fact when he told this parable he was on his way to Jerusalem to die and rise again to be acclaimed king over all. But not everyone wanted Jesus to be their king. Just think of how most of the Pharisees had opposed Jesus at every turn. Keyara and Kirsten, you are not among those who have outright declared: “Jesus, I don’t want you as my king.” Indeed, with your confirmation vows today you’re declaring just the opposite. That’s great but do you really understand what it means to have Jesus as your king? Let’s find out by taking a close look at the rest of the parable.
Before the nobleman went off to be crowned king he gave his ten servants one mina each, that’s about three months wages, and told them to put that money to work while he was gone. The minas could represent the time, talents, and treasures Jesus has given us. Jesus certainly had those things in mind when he told The Parable of the Talents about a week later (Matthew 25:14 ff.). The minas of this parable, however, represent God’s Word, specifically the gospel (compare Luke 19:26 with Luke 8:18). Notice how every servant in the parable received the same amount. Likewise Jesus has entrusted his Word to each Christian in equal measure. Your Bible, Keyara and Kirsten, has as many pages as my Bible. And what are we to do with this treasure? We are to “do business” with it. We are to share it with others when we tell them about Jesus, and we are to diligently study it so that we are motivated and empowered to live a God-pleasing life as a “thank you” to Jesus for his forgiveness.
And don’t think Jesus is like the teacher who gives an assignment but doesn’t bother to see if you completed it. When the nobleman-turned-king came back to this home he called his servants to see what they had done with his money. The king expected results and so does Jesus. Sharing the gospel with others and diligently studying it so that we grow in Christian living isn’t something we are to do only “if we have the time or interest.” No, this is what we are to make time to do for it is our God-given purpose in life.
So how did the servants in the parable fare? The first servant said: “Sir, your mina has earned ten more” (Luke 19:16a). This servant had been wildly successful. He had realized a return of a 1000%! Yet did you hear the humility in the man’s words? He did not say: “Sir, look at what I did with your money,” but “Sir, your mina has earned ten more.” A true believer, therefore, is not only active in sharing and applying the gospel; he acknowledges that every “success” is a result of God’s blessing. This first servant could have been Martin Luther. Thanks to that monk’s faithfulness to the gospel, churches all over the world now proclaim again the truth that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone (a return of a 1000%?). Yet Luther admitted: “I’ve done nothing. The Word did it all.”
But now what are we to think of the second servant who only produced five minas? Had he not been as faithful as the first servant? Some Bible students think so but had he not been faithful, the master would not have given him one city to govern, much less five. The second servant, therefore, may best illustrate the reality that one’s productivity with the gospel is not indicative of one’s faithfulness to the gospel. Take the prophet Isaiah for example. He diligently ministered to the Israelites but said in exasperation: “Who has believed our message?” (Isaiah 53:1a) Still, Jesus considered Isaiah to be a faithful prophet (John 12:41).