Sermon: Our King is Nothing Like Archelaus (Luke 19:11-27)

Luke 19.11-27 Click for Audio

Our King is Nothing Like Archelaus

Luke 19:11-27

Introduction

Jesus is still in the house of Zaccheaus as He begins to tell this parable to all who are present.

In 4BC, King Herod the Great died and was to be succeeded by his son Herod Archelaus.  Archelaus was extremely brutal and everyone remembered the event at the Passover in 4 BC, the same year his father died.  In those days there was a division among the people over who should be Herod the Great’s successor to the throne.  None of the choices were good and it basically came down to Archelaus or Antipas.  Archelaus was King Herod’s choice having named him, as successor in his will.  However, the people did not like Archelaus because of his poor leadership and cruelty.  During the Passover celebration in that same year, there erupted opposition to Archelaus’ rule.  It was answered as 3,000 Jews were slaughtered on that day by his army.

Because Archelaus needed to secure Rome’s approval to be officially crowned king, he traveled to Rome to meet with Caesar.  What Archelaus did not know was that there was also a group of fifty Jewish diplomats sent to meet with Caesar as well.  Their job was to convince Caesar that Archelaus was unfit to be king because of his cruelty.  They succeeded.  Rather than being made king, Archelaus was given a lesser title and it would be Governors answerable to Caesar who would rule Palestine.

Even though this horrific event of the slaughter was 35 years before, most had heard of it and some may have even witnessed it.

I tell you this bit of history because it is important background to set up this last parable of our Lord.

Let’s understand that while this parable contains issues of money and investing and making a profit, it’s really not too much about money.  It’s about understanding who our King is and about our devotion to Him. 

Please hear God’s Word today for Grace Community Church:

Luke 19:11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.

13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’

17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’

19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;

21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’

25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’

26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'”

1. Purpose of the Parable (19:11)

11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

The purpose in telling this parable is much the same as the purpose in chapter 17.  Jesus’ pattern so far is when asked or when teaching anything about the second coming, He highlights two things and avoids predicting the times and events.  Rather than getting sidetracked as many do today, He kept their attention on two things:  The cross and being prepared when He comes.  It was like that in chapter 17 and it’s like that here.

The two reasons Luke gives for Jesus telling this parable is…

because he was near to Jerusalem

because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

The cross was within days and Jesus wanted His followers to know the reality of what it means to be a child of God.  The Kingdom of God would not come immediately.

2. The Kingdom’s Delay (19:12-14)

12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.

13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

As soon as everyone heard verse 12, they would have been thinking of Archelaus.  However, the nobleman or the One of noble birth is not Archelaus but the Lord Jesus Himself.  Being the Son of David, He is a nobleman.  While our Lord is away, He is receiving His kingdom, so that when He returns He will set it up.  Archelaus returned without a kingdom.  Jesus’ return as King is guaranteed.

The King in the parable knew that while He was away He would still need to make sure his servants stayed faithful, so He places ten of His servants in charge of keeping the treasury going while He was away.

This parable teaches that there will be an interim between Jesus’ first and second coming. A faithful servant will be busy with the King’s business while waiting for His return.  An unfit servant will try to get out of serving and carrying out the Master’s business.

The charge given by this King is: ‘Engage in business until I come.’

For an earthly king who is going away for a time his concern is for his city.  Keep doing business until I return.  The charge was not to make a certain percentage or return the money a hundred fold.  The charge was to engage in business.  In the ancient world as in many places today, there was a market place and buying and selling and bartering took place.  People traded, bought and sold for a profit.

These servants all understood that the money they had been given was not theirs.  They also understood that the profit they received would not be theirs either.  So, the issue was that this is a test to determine if the servants were devoted to the king or not.

In the case of Archelaus, most did not like him at all because of his cruelty.  In this parable, 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

But why would this be the case for Jesus?  He was of noble birth, in other words, He was qualified to be king.  He wasn’t a hard and cruel master but one who loved his servants.  He healed them and taught them, He fed them and showed them the Kingdom of God.  However, for the most part, the outcome was the same.  The Jews did not desire to follow Him.  He wasn’t what they expected or wanted.  They wanted a King who would make them prosperous and powerful.  Jesus came as a humble man teaching repentance and faith.

The picture is of ten servants who had all been given the same amount of money, each one a mina.  The challenge would be living in a city full of townsmen who are not devoted to the King.  How will these servants fare living among such a wicked people?  Will they continue to serve their Master or will they succumb to the will of the people while they wait for their Master’s return?

It’s no accident that Jesus tells this story now because, as was mentioned earlier, the cross is getting very big on the horizon.

Jesus’ concern is will His followers remain faithful while His is away receiving His kingdom?  Will they continue to engage in the business of the King or will their lack of love for Him cause them to fail?

3. Great Rewards for Faithfulness (19:15-19)

15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’

17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’

19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

As we look through this section, please notice with me that the King gives the rewards to the servants.  These rewards are extremely generous compared to the profit earned for the King in the engaging in business.

This King is not a wicked King but a kind and rewarding King.

Verse 15 shows that upon the King’s return there will be an examining of faithfulness in His servants.

2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Again the issue is not percentage of profit but did they engage in business?  Were they faithful to carry on the Master’s affairs while He was gone?

For us, as servants of Christ we too have been entrusted with a mina.  Our mina is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  How are we doing?  Are we engaged in the business of our King?  While our King is gone, are we faithful in investing the mina of the Gospel entrusted to us?  Are we faithful in telling others?

16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’

1000% profit was very good.  He had turned 10,000 into 100,000 dollars.  Very good job.  However, 100,000 dollars while it’s a lot of money is not to be compared to:

17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

Do you see that the reward for faithfulness far exceeds the profit earned for the King.  The Kingdom given to this King was of infinite value.  The King did not depend on His servant’s income but it all was a test of faithfulness.

18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’

500% profit was also very good.  10,000 was turned into 50,000.

19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Again the reward was of infinite value compared to any profit made.

Our King, King Jesus, is much more generous than even this king in the story.  Our inheritance as faithful followers is infinitely of more value than anything we could earn on earth.

4. Great Punishment for Wickedness (Luke 19:20-23)

20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;

21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

Let’s understand the reasoning behind this wicked servant’s lack of investing…He was afraid of the King.  The point is that this servant was afraid that if he had invested the mina the king entrusted to him, he might have lost it.  He believed wrong things about the King and in his wrong thinking he disobeyed the King’s command to engage in business.  This man was also judged not because he only had what he started with but because he was afraid of the king and afraid that he would loose what the King had entrusted to him.  In complete defiance to the king’s orders he hides his mina away until the day the king returned.

Dear beloved, do not hide the Gospel away.  Freely give it away.  Invest it in others and you will see a return.

The wicked servant did not see the King as righteous and generous but hard and ruthless.  He thought this king was like Herod.

Notice what he says: 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

He basically says, why botherIf I invest it and make anything, the king will just take it away.  I’ll show him, I’ll only give him back what he gave me to start with. 

Also, notice that this servant was trying to blame his fear and lack of obedience on the king.  You are a severe man…you reap where you didn’t sow…you take away what isn’t yours.  This servant knew nothing about his king.  He didn’t know the King.  If he did, he would have lovingly obeyed.

Jesus calls this man wicked.  So, wickedness stems from unbelief and disobedience.  Do you view God as a severe King?  Do you view the Son of God as One who takes what isn’t His or someone who is cruel and harsh?

Believe it or not, it takes love and devotion to the King to produce obedience.  The first two servants obeyed not out of fear like the third servant but out of love and devotion.  They understood that everything they had belonged to their king and He is entitled to their obedience.

5. Reward and Destruction (19:24-27)

24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’

25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’

26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'”

The faithful are rewarded and the wicked are judged.

Here, the one servant who proved trustworthy and useful even received another mina in which to invest for his Master.  The one who proved wicked was no longer entrusted with the mina that he hoarded.

This is the principle that if one is faithful with a little he will be given more.  This biblical principle goes against everything our society deems fair and just.  In our society, it seems, most everyone believes that all people should be treated the same regardless of their diligence.  Those who refuse to work, according to how our society operates, deserve to live like the people who do work.  This is unbiblical and un-American.

Here in our parable, we see that the wicked servant and all who oppose this King are destroyed.  Literally, in the original language, it’s hew them down, slay them utterly.

What about us?

As believers, we are entrusted with the Gospel.  Right before our Lord ascended to the Father He left these words to all His followers.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Here is the business we’ve been entrusted with.  We are to engage in investing not a mina but the Gospel.  We are to make disciples and teach them all that our king commanded.  Someday King Jesus will return and all this will be settled.

The time is coming when our Lord will return.  We must not concern ourselves with trying to figure it all out but examining ourselves.  Are we good and faithful servants, investing the Gospel in others or are we wicked servants who hoard the Gospel?

I pray we are those who share the Gospel on a regular basis for the glory of our King!

 

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