Key Truth: Luke wrote Luke 19:11-27 to teach believers that Christ has given us an assignment until He returns and that He will demand an accounting when He returns.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about being faithful until His Return.
Pray and Read: Luke 19:11-27
Throughout his Gospel, Luke emphasizes the importance of walking in faith and avoiding unbelief. He has made it clear that every individual who meets Jesus Christ must make a decision about Him. Christ must be received or rejected. His claims must be believed or denied. When the Gospel shifts gears at Luke 9:51, Luke urges us to prioritize faith over unbelief (Luke 9:57-11:36) and warning us to trust the Lord rather than ourselves (Luke 11:37-12:59).
Christ then calls us to a Kingdom marked by grace (Luke 13:1-21), repentance (Luke 13:22-35), provision (Luke 14), and redemption of the lost (Luke 15). Luke warns us to prepare for His Return by responding to God’s Word in repentance (Luke 16), guarding against sin with obedience and thankfulness (Luke 17:1-19), waiting with faithful service (Luke 17:20-37), and persevering prayer (Luke 18:1-8). God always responds with mercy to a humble and simple reliance on Him (Luke 18:9-17). True faith is
In chapter 18, Luke, who has been talking about the importance of walking in faith and not in unbelief, shows us what true faith actually looks like. The necessity of complete reliance on God is emphasized in Jesus’ response to the little children (Luke 18:15-17), the response of the rich young ruler to Jesus (Luke 18:18-30), and most powerfully by Jesus Himself when He shares with His disciples His coming death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34). Then in two examples of His free mercies, Jesus first turns aside to free from blindness a beggar who sees with faith Christ’s identity as Messiah (Luke 18:35-43). Second, He turns aside to help a wealthy tax collector find the riches of Christ’s presence and purpose (Luke 19:1-10).
Luke’s clear statement of the purpose of Christ’s mission on this planet (Luke 19:10) is followed by a parable which sums up our mission on the planet as we await Christ’s return (Luke 19:11-27).
1. Christ has given us an assignment until He returns (Luke 19:12-14)
2. Christ will require of us an accounting when He returns (Luke 19:15-27)
Exposition: Note well,
1. CHRIST HAS GIVEN US AN ASSIGNMENT UNTIL HE RETURNS (Luke 19:12-14)
a. We are now in the last passage which brings us to the end of Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem. Jerusalem is at last in sight, only a six hour walk uphill for seventeen miles. Because the disciples are sure that Jesus will receive a crown once he arrives in Jerusalem along with a general expectation is that the prophecies concerning the kingdom will be fulfilled immediately once they arrive within the city, Jesus tells them another parable. The parable of the minas teaches the need for Jesus’ disciples to practice good stewardship during his absence.  Servants who are faithful with the resources Jesus has given them will be rewarded at his return with greater privilege and responsibility. Those who exercise poor stewardship will suffer loss (1 Cor 3:12-15).
b. A nobleman, going to a distant capital to have himself appointed king, leaves with various servants a pound each that they may trade until his return. He is not popular, and the citizens send a deputation in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the rejection of his claim. On his return with his new royal title, he calls the servants to give account of their stewardship. The successful ones are rewarded according to their success. One who confesses he has made no effort is rebuked and his pound taken from him. The rebels who have tried to throw off their master’s rule are slain.
c. The parable of the minas or the pounds has some background from current events that will help us understand it. The Jewish historian Josephus tells how Herod the Great’s will divided his territories after his death among his family, and how, before its bequests became valid, they had to be confirmed by the Roman Emperor. Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, had hurried home to Rome to beg confirmation to rule as a client king of Rome. His request was opposed by an embassy of his own Jewish subjects, who disputed his right to reign. The Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decided to grant Herod Archelaus power, and he returned. One can only imagine what he then did to those who had taken a stand against him! With these events fresh in the awareness of His listeners, Jesus pictured Himself as a rejected ruler who will surely return to claim His kingdom.
d. Luke 19:11 – appear at once: A second teaching point to the parable is to explain why the Kingdom of God will not be inaugurated when Jesus enters Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-48) as they expect. The parable corrected the notion that God’s glorious kingdom was going to appear on earth “at once” (Luke 19:11). Jesus had previously taught them that the generation of His day would not see the kingdom because it would be postponed indefinitely into the future (Luke 17:22). Most Jewish expectations envisioned an earthly kingdom with Jerusalem at its center. Jesus doesn’t say they are wrong. He just makes it clear that the manifestation of that kingdom will take on a different form (Acts 1:6-8). The parable explains His own rejection by His people and why he must go appeal to God the Father and explains what Christ expects of His followers while He is gone, i.e., the use of the resources granted to each in His Master’s service (Luke 19:12-19).
e. Luke 19:12 – Went to a distant country to have himself appointed king: Rome ruled what they called Palestine as a vassal kingdom, so all Herod’s sons, Archelaus, Herod Antipas, Herod Philip, and Herod Agrippa I, were forced by the dictates of his will to go to Rome and seek approval from Caesar Augustus to rule.
f. Luke 19:13 – Ten minas: A mina was 100 drachmas. One drachma as a day’s wage. Each servant is thus given several month’s wages and told to invest it appropriately to turn a profit. This was not very much money. (It is not the sum of investment that is significant, but the faithfulness of the servant in using what he has for his master’s benefit.) Note that each servant received a mina, each an investment to be invested for the new King’s benefit (1 Cor 12:7).“Occupy till I come” does not mean take possession. It means “occupy yourselves at my business until I come.”
g. Luke 19:14 – subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him: The subjects don’t like him, but they cannot give a reason why they don’t want him. In contemporary knowledge is the experience of Archelaus, son of Herod the Great. When protests broke out after the death of Herod the Great, Archelaus used his solders to restore order violently, killing over 3000 Jews who were demonstrating at Passover. The Jews responded by sending a fifty-man delegation to Rome to plead against his kingship. The emperor Caesar Augustus compromised by giving Archelaus half of Herod’s kingdom and divided the other half between Philip and Antipas with the title ethnarch instead of king. Augustus ruled that if Archelaus governed wisely, he would later appoint him king. Instead, Archelaus ruled poorly in the eyes of Rome, and he was deposed in A.D. 6, just ten years later.
h. Jesus’ point? Jesus has presented himself to the Jews as Messiah. But soon He will be killed at the instigation of the leaders of His own people. What then will happen to the kingdom the OT prophets predicted Messiah will rule? The answer is that Jesus will travel to the courts of the Emperor of the Universe, His own Father. There He will be confirmed as King, despite the opposition of the Jews, and when He returns He will reign. What then are Jesus’ servants to do while their master is away? We are to use every resource which He has committed to us, no matter how insignificant our resources may appear to be, in His service. When He returns He will reward us, far beyond what we might expect.
i. APPLICATION: For all the talk concerning the rich ruler and Zacchaeus about money, we have not really discussed it for ourselves. One of the assignments is how we handle the resources of which we have been entrusted. Here are a few things Chuck Swindoll reminds us in regard to stewardship of funds. First, what you need most cannot be purchased with money. Money can buy a bed but not sleep, pleasure but not peace, medicine but not health, companionship but not friendship, a crucifix but not a Savior. We lose sight of what is most important by focusing on things (Luke 12:20-21). Remember, everything you have has been provided by God, and what you spend is an expression of your priorities.
2. CHRIST WILL REQUIRE OF US AN ACCOUNTING WHEN HE RETURNS (Luke 19:15-27)
a. Christ teaches that He who has the right to rule would be absent from the place over which He was appointed to rule. Some (i.e., Israel) would rebel and reject Him. Some would be his disciples and will have a stewardship entrusted to them. He will then return in the future to assume his throne, to reward his faithful stewards, and to judge those who rejected his kingship (Luke 19:14, 17, 27). He will hold accountable those who discharge that stewardship, and at His return He will call them to give an account. Those who have proven themselves to be good stewards by their faithfulness will be rewarded with positions of authority in the kingdom. But those who by their unfaithfulness have proved that they are not His stewards will be cut off from the kingdom.
b. The parable underlines the seriousness of the call to serve productively until Christ does come back again (Luke 19:20-24). The point for his disciples is that Jesus will receive his royal authority not now in Jerusalem, but in heaven at his exaltation to God’s right hand (Acts 2:32-36).
c. Luke 19:17, 19 – Take charge of ten cities, five cities: The king says, “Come be over, i.e. promoted.” The parable refers to servants who prove faithful in lesser roles being appointed to governorships over cities. The authority given to the servants coincides with the eschatological rule promised to God’s faithful servants, ruling and reigning saints (1 Cor 6:3). Revelation 20:4: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
d. APPLICATION: How often the very thing we find we can do for our Lord is a “very small matter.” How insignificant we often feel our opportunities and even ourselves to be. Yet to Jesus each “very small matter” is important indeed, and faithfulness will win us rewards far out of proportion to what we have been able to do.
e. Luke 19:20 – laid away in a piece of cloth: This was a careless and irresponsible way to guard money. The servant is not only foolhardy and plumb stupid, but he is also unfaithful if not treasonous. Even hiding money in the ground was safer than this (Matt 25:18, 25).
f. Luke 19:21 – The servants says the king is a hard man, literally, rough to the taste, stringent. Objecting that the master “takes out what he does not supply” suggests he took money he had not deposited, meaning he was accusing him of misappropriating funds.
g. Luke 19:23 – put my money on deposit: The servant is chastised for not bothering to (literally) “put the money on the table,” that is, to loan it to money lenders in order to receive interest. Because wealth in the ancient world tended to be concentrated in the hands of few, high interest rates were charged and large profits made.
h. Luke 19:27 – Those enemies: Jesus’ hearers understood this image since it was a common practice in the ancient world for kings to eliminate their enemies and rivals when they ascended to the throne (1 Kings 2:13-46). The application of the parable is the final judgment against those who ultimately reject Jesus as Savior and King.
i. APPLICATION: The most important point Jesus makes in this parable is perhaps that He will return to this planet as King, confirmed in His role by God the Father, ready to execute that royal authority which is His by right (Psalm 2). His Return and the establishment of His Kingdom will be far more real than the transitory lives we live today. When Christ and His coming Kingdom become very real to us, then we will serve Him with all our hearts.
j. APPLICATION: Swindoll offers some thoughts here on our spiritual lives. First, you cannot stand still spiritually and continue to grow. See Luke 19:26? Use it or lose it. Don’t sit on your mina! We must use resources, talents, and gifts as an investment of God’s resources, not ours.
k. Second, the Lord rewards broad vision, not fearful restraint. Fear of failure, criticism, or burnout keeps our minas in the napkin, but the Lord has called us to do business. So think big. Pray big prayers. Be generous. Ask Him for a God-sized vision. Remember, the King approved of those who risked.
l. Third, we will ultimately give an account to the Lord, not others. Those people whose opinions you fear – they won’t be sitting on the Throne one day to judge you. All of us believers will one day stand before Christ’s judgment seat, not the judgment seat of parents or brothers or sisters or supervisors or family or friends or fellow church members (2 Cor 5:10). People often measure us by standards we can never achieve. Jesus measures us according to the potential He placed in us. That gives you freedom to take a chance, freedom to invest in things that last, freedom to risk for Him and His Kingdom.
Paul John Isaak, “Luke,” Africa Bible Commentary, Tokunboh Adeyemo, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 1242.
Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1993), 241-242.
Dwight J. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 366-368.
Alfred Plummer, International Critical Commentary on Luke, 5th ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902), 28:437-444.
Laurence E. Porter, “Luke,” The International Bible Commentary, F.F. Bruce, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 1219.
Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion (Wheaton: Victor, 1991), 670.
Lawrence O. Richards, The Victor Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Wheaton: Victor, 1994), 201-203.
A.B. Simpson, The Christ in the Bible Commentary, Vol. 4 (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), 4:31-334.
Mark Strauss. “Luke,” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Clinton E. Arnold, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 1:464-465.
Charles R. Swindoll and Bryce Klabunde, The Consummation of Something Miraculous: Jesus’ Trial and Triumph of Redemption. A Study of Luke 16:19-24:53 (Anaheim, CA: Insight for Living, 1995), 52-59.
Harold L. Wilmington, The Outline Bible (Nashville: Tyndale House, 1999), 549-550.
 Matthew’s parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) has striking similarities, but the differences are so marked that there is no possibility that the two stories are the same parable, The nobleman going to receive kingly power (Luke 19:12) is in Matt. 25:14 ‘a man going on a journey.’ In Luke 19:13, each servant receives a mina, worth about US$20 or 3 months wages. In Matt. 25:15, talents are given worth $1000, and the servants are given 5, 2, and 1. In Luke 19:16, 18, the successful servants made profits of 1000% and 500%. In Matt. 25:16f, each makes 100%. Luke 19:17-19 also shows differing rewards from Matt. 25:22f. Some says that Luke’s story is jumbled up, but not if Jesus is relating an actual event, for real life has loose ends!
 Larry Richards, BBNT, 202-203.
 Richards, BBNT, 203.