Luke 19:11-27: The Parable of the Ten Minas


The King receives His kingdom
His servants await His kingdom


‘When Herod the Great died in 4 b.c., it was obvious to almost everyone that his son Archelaus would take his throne in Judea. However, there was only one man in the entire world who had the power and authority to crown Archelaus as king: the emperor Caesar in Rome. Although Archelaus began to rule immediately upon the death of his father, his royal title could be ratified only by Caesar Augustus himself. So Archelaus made the long journey to Rome, where he expected to be crowned as king in the temple of the Palatine Apollo.
Unfortunately for Archelaus, there was active opposition to his monarchy, and when he arrived in Rome, he discovered that some of his own family members were rival claimants to the throne. Even worse, a delegation of fifty Jewish leaders came from Jerusalem seeking an audience with Caesar and claiming that Archelaus was unfit to govern. During Passover there had been a disturbance at the temple, and soldiers of Archelaus had rashly slaughtered some three thousand worshipers. The delegation from Jerusalem, backed by thousands of Jews who were then living in Rome, petitioned Caesar to liberate them from the authority of Archelaus.
The whole business took much longer than anyone expected, but eventually Caesar decided to give Archelaus the opportunity to prove that he was worthy to be the king. Not surprisingly, when Archelaus returned to Judea he executed swift punishment against the men who had rebelled against his rule. He went away as a contender, but he returned as king, ready to exercise his royal authority.’1 These events that happened shortly after the birth of Christ 30 years earlier would be still be etched on the minds of the Jews, and it is this event that gives us the historical backdrop to an important parable, the parable of the minas.

Jesus is approaching Jerusalem, the next event mentioned by Luke is the triumphal entry, the crowd on the road to Jerusalem going to Passover, the crowd who have been travelling with Him and seen the miracle of healing Blind Bartimaeus when he cried out to Jesus as the Son of David are full of anticipation. You will remember that there are many wrong ideas about the Messiah and His kingdom. It was believed that He would come in military triumph to rescue Israel and expel her enemies. Many who were sick of Roman occupation were hoping for a revolution. The air around Jesus around this major movement of people towards Jerusalem was electric with expectation. The disciples think something is going to happen and the other gospels give us accounts about how they were jockeying to sit at His right and left hand in His soon to be established kingdom. The crowds think something is going to happen as they herald Jesus as the King as He is about to enter Jerusalem. The leaders see that something is about to happen and feel the need to remove Jesus from the situation. Into this fog of misunderstanding Jesus gives a complex parable. It is a parable that addresses the King receiving His kingdom in an unexpected way, but it also repeats what Jesus has been saying all along about how the Kingdom comes in two parts and in between is a delay. This parable tells us about how the king receives His kingdom and how His servants have to live during His delay.

Now this parable is similar to but not to be confused with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. There are some important differences to note. This parable is given outside Jericho, the other in Jerusalem. In the parable of the talents there are 3 servants given differing amounts; in this parable there are 10 slaves all given the same amount. This indicates that Jesus told similar parables at different times. Where the parable of the talents highlights how we are given different gifts, this parable focuses more on all of our responsibility to be faithful. We will look at this parable under two headings. Firstly, we want to look at v11-14 under The King receives His kingdom; and then v15-27, His servants await His kingdom.