Summary: Jesus told this story to establish the fact that there would be a period of time before the kingdom would be restored. The king would go away, and then one day he would return and set up the kingdom.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
As we soon begin to focus on the Christmas season and the coming of Jesus Christ into the world over 2000 years ago, I want us to focus on the fact that our Lord Jesus will some day come again. He came the first time according to the promises of the Old Testament. He will come again to bring it all to completion.
The basis of this parable is the false expectations that the people had with Jesus. Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover and it seems that many believed that he was going to establish His kingdom immediately. They were still looking for a political Messiah. As the Passover commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, many felt that Jesus would be crowned King at Jerusalem and raise an army, deliver them from the Romans, and reestablish the kingly line of David. The apostles dreamed of sitting on the right and left hand of His Kingdom.
Jesus told this story to establish the fact that there would be a period of time before the kingdom would be restored. The king would go away, and then one day he would return and set up the kingdom.
Prior to his ascension back into heaven, the disciples asked him. “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” They still did not fully understand his mission.
I. THE RECEIVING OF A KINGDOM (12)
Jesus tells the story of “a certain nobleman” who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.” This story is based upon an historical event some years earlier. At the death of Herod the Great, his son Archelaus had to undertake a long journey “to receive kingly power.” He could not be king in Judea until his claims had been ratified by the government in Rome. Because of his unpopularity, a deputation of his subjects went to Rome to complain against his kingship.
Of course the “nobleman” in this story represents our Lord Jesus Christ. He was on the way to Jerusalem where he would be rejected, crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. Moreover, he would return to heaven for an undisclosed period of time and then he would return to set up his kingdom.
Many ask, “Is the kingdom present or is it future?” The answer is, both. It has been present since the first coming of Jesus until now. Many parables illustrate the growth of the kingdom. The kingdom began small and has been growing every since. Yet there is coming a day when the King will come again and bring this age to its triumphant conclusion.
II. THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SERVANTS OF THE KING. (13)
The followers of Jesus have been given a great responsibility during the interim between His ascension and his return. He tells us what we are to be doing til he gets back. The KJV says, “Occupy till I come.” Other translations, “Do business until I come” (NKJV). “Put this money to work” he said, ‘until I come back.” (NIV). I would translate it, “Take care of my business until I come back.” What is the business of our coming King?
Until He gets back, we who believe in Jesus Christ are subjects of the kingdom and we are involved in the preparation for the return of the King. Our job is not to speculate on the timing of His return, but on the preparation. We are to prepare hearts for the coming of the King. Whether, Jesus returns before this year is over, or during the next year, or even 100 years, or a thousand years, we are to be involved in fulfilling our Lord’s purpose. In 19:1-9, Jesus had just transformed the life of a Publican whose name was Zacchaeus. Then in verse 10, Jesus stated the purpose of his coming into the world. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Seeking and saving the lost” was his mission and that ought to be our mission.