Summary: As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem from Jericho to celebrate the Passover with His disciples and others, He told a parable to the crowd to show that the kingdom they had been telling others about would not be established immediately as they had thought.
November 19, 2006
(40) Parable-The Ten Pounds
11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem from Jericho to celebrate the Passover with His disciples and others, He told a parable to the crowd to show that the kingdom they had been telling others about would not be established immediately as they had thought. Instead, according to what the Father had planned, He must go to the Cross first.
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Since Jesus had been rejected by the Jewish people, the kingdom would be delayed, and during the time between His First and Second Coming something new (the church) would be set up. That’s what He was telling Peter when He said, “And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. (Mt 16:18). It’s during this interval of time that His followers are to be busy.
In the parable, the Lord Jesus Himself is the certain nobleman who went to heaven to wait for the time when He would return and set up His kingdom on earth.
This parable has a historical parallel, since kings in Roman provinces like Galilee and Perea actually went to Rome to receive their kingdoms. The dynasty established by the Herod family was dependent on Rome for ruling power, and Herod the Great had gone to Rome to be given his kingdom.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
The ten servants symbolize His disciples. He gave each one a pound (about $16.50 in American money) and told them to do business with this pound until He came again. The servants were expected to invest their funds, and to give an account when their master returned. The activity of professing believers during the church age can be seen here. We have a dual assignment: to work, and to wait, and we must do both faithfully.
Each servant was given one pound, signifying equal opportunity. Despite the fact that there are differences in the talents and abilities of the servants of the Lord, there are some things which they have in common, such as the privileges of sharing the gospel, and representing Christ to the world, and the privilege of prayer.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
The citizens represent the Jewish nation, who declared at Jesus’ trial, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). They not only rejected Him, but even after His departure, they sent a delegation after him, saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” The message might represent their treatment of Christ’s servants such as Stephen and other martyrs.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Here the Lord is seen as the nobleman, returning to set up His kingdom. Then He will reckon with those to whom He gave the money.
Today, believers will be reviewed as far as their service is concerned at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This takes place in heaven, following the Rapture. The faithful Jewish remnant who will witness for Christ during the Tribulation Period will be reviewed at Christ’s Second Coming. This is the judgment that seems to be the theme of this passage.
Christ’s first coming was as Savior; but when He returns, it will be as Judge. False teachers and Christ-rejecters will be cast away (vss. 26–27).
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
The first servant had earned ten pounds with the one pound that had been entrusted to him. He had an awareness that the money was not his own (“thy pound”) and he used it as best he could in the advancement of his master’s interests.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
The master praised him for being faithful in a very little. This is a reminder that those with relative small gifts and opportunities are just as responsibly to use them faithfully as those who are given much more.
His reward was to have authority over ten cities. It was incomparably greater than the ten pounds warranted. It should also be noted that the awards were distributed according to the servants diligence: the one with ten pounds was given ten cities, the one who gained five pounds, five cities (v. 19), and so on. Rewards for faithful service apparently are linked with rule in Christ’s kingdom. The extent to which a disciple will rule is determined by the measure of his devotion and the effort expended.