Jesus is king! But there are many who refuse to acknowledge his lordship. Its more than that really. They hate the very idea of Jesus being king. They may be okay if he is relegated to a somewhat nice guru. But if he is king, you have to obey him. You have to accept his concept of nobility; of character; of what is right and wrong. Jesus is king! Ah, but this is a spiritual reality that is not yet physically enforced. And those who oppose this reality, reject any who support it. In this climate, there is some risk to living out kingdom life. Many will respond with hatred and vilification. Just ask Chick-fill-A. When the CEO spoke out about sin, many a mayor said, “We don’t want this restaurant in our city.”
In Luke 19:11-28 Jesus tells a parable to explain why Jerusalem is not an instant physical kingdom of God scenario. Their expectation longed for Jesus to step foot in the holy city and “POOF!” kingdom of God. So, he tells them a story of a man of noble birth who went away to a distant land to receive a kingdom. This was a familiar story. Herod the Great traveled to Rome and was given the kingdom of Israel. His son Archelaus did the same. The man summons ten of his slaves and gives them each a mina. A mina was about three months wages for the common person. So, he gives them the mina and tells them to do business “in which I am coming back.” Some translate this “until I come back.” But maybe the idea is “do business in a way in which you expect me to return as king.” Do business in my name; in support of me as the returning king.
And this is risky because some of his citizens detest him and don’t want him to be king over them. This happened with Archelaus in 4 BC. The Jewish people sent a delegation to protest him. So, in the midst of this hostile environment; this we don’t want your master to be king environment, they are being asked to support him in their business dealings. This is more than the reality of risk in financial endeavors. In Jesus’ day, great gains were possible, but so were catastrophic failures. You know, like always.
The man returns and has his slaves summoned to give him a report of their handling of the money they had been given. The first one comes and informs the master that, with his master’s mina, he had gained ten minas. Well, that’s good business, and the master blurts out with “Most excellent, good slave.” And then he puts him in charge of ten cities in his newly acquired kingdom. The second is basically the same except with five minas earned and five cities given. Isn’t that nice?
Another one said, “Here’s your mina, which I hid away in a sweat cloth. I was terrified of you because I know what kind of person you are. You are a severe task master. You are the kind of person who wants to take what you didn’t work for; to reap what you didn’t sow.” This is not a compliment. It is an accusation of shameless exploitation of others. The master basically responds with, “Uhm, if that is the kind of person you perceive me to be, you should have been even more motivated to make some money for me.” Right? You’re terrified that this guy is a hard greedy grabber and you are going to merely hide his money away. Most likely the slave didn’t want to risk supporting his master in a hostile environment. He didn’t believe he would come back with the kingship all wrapped up. He is a wicked slave. The least he could have done was put the mina in a bank and then, at least, he would have earned interest. It would have been negligible, but it would have least been something. Then he commands his attendants to take away the mina and give it to the first slave.
It may be that Jesus’ listeners respond with “But he already has ten minas.” Not to mention being in charge of ten cities. Jesus said, “everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who does not have even what he does have will be taken away.” This is a floating saying which Jesus uttered in a completely different situation. Here, it means the one who is faithfully serving, more chances to serve will be given. The one who does not serve, will lose everything. And then, those who were the enemies will be killed. This was standard procedure.
Jesus is King! The environment is hostile to his reign. Will you serve; will you do business in his name; will you risk ridicule and worse; will you support the king? You have been given the means to serve. There is no expectation other than supportive serving of the king. Oh, and some view God as if he were severe in his dealings and then refuse to obey. Hmm. Jesus is King. Serve him and be blessed with more.