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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE POUNDS

Luke 19:11-14 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. He said therefore, a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us. (Also Read Verses 15-27).

This chapter begins with Jesus entering Jericho and traveling toward Jerusalem. There he met Zaccheus, a chief tax collector (a publican), and was a guest in his house. They that saw it, because publicans were considered to be sinners, condemned His action. This we can infer from Zaccheus association with Jesus. Zaccheus was a sinner, but recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, he repented of his sinful ways, after which Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house. He was then recognized by Jesus, not as a sinner, but as a righteous fellow Jew, a son of Abraham. Jesus justified His association with Zaccheus by telling them for the Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost. This seems to be one reason Jesus relates this parable. Another possible reason was to dispel the false ideas about an earthly kingdom they thought He would soon establish. Based on the conclusion of verse 11, we are assured that His disciples thought that the kingdom of God would immediately appear after His arrival in Jerusalem.

The parable is very similar to the parable of The Talents. However, there are differences and, according to many bible scholars, was probably used by Jesus to teach a similar lesson but on a different occasion. Here we have a certain nobleman going to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. The inference here is that a man of noble character from Israel went to Rome to receive a commission to rule over a certain portion of the land of Palestine, and would soon return to assume this position over the people of that province. Before leaving, he called his ten servants and gave to each a pound, which they were to occupy, or to put to good use in a profitable way, until he returned. It is also noted in verse 14, that the citizens of the province over which he was to rule hated him and sent a message to the Roman authorities stating that they did not want this man to reign over us.

After receiving his authority to rule, the nobleman returned to his homeland, the land he became ruler of, and immediately called his servants in to give an account of the money with which they had been entrusted. The first servant given a pound announced he had gained ten pounds and the second had gained five pounds. As a reward for their faithful service they were given the authority to be his deputy rulers over ten, and five cities respectively within the province over which he was to rule. A third servant, for fear of losing the pound given him, laid it up by hiding it in a napkin. The nobleman called him a wicked servant, had the pound taken from him, and given it to the servant having the ten pounds. (Note that many bible scholars assume that the other 7 unmentioned servants were as unfaithful as the third servant mentioned here). And what about the citizens that refused to have this fellow countryman rule over them? The nobleman called them mine enemies, and said, bring (them) hither, and slay them before me (Vs. 27).

The certain nobleman represents Jesus, who was soon to be crucified and buried, but would arise from the grave and ascend into heaven, which is represented in this parable as a far country. There He would receive His kingdom from God, His church, over which He would rule forever. His ten servants are those that accepted His teaching, were baptized into His kingdom (His church), and professed to be His followers. Some were rewarded for faithful, devoted service to support and promote His church, while others He denounced for failing to use their talents and abilities, as they should. His citizens (that) hated him were Jesus' fellow Jews that accepted Him as a countryman but refused to accept Him as the Messiah and their King. To those readers that are outside His kingdom today, cease to be His enemies; accept Him as your Savior and your King; be baptized into his body, His church; be obedient to His will. To those that have accepted Jesus as their Savior and King - that are within His kingdom, use your abilities (pounds) wisely - serve Him faithfully! Become His servant; remain his servant; be a good servant!