Home > jesus, luke, parable > The Cranky New Ruler

The Cranky New Ruler

The crowd has been listening to all this, and everyone assumes that the kingdom of God is going to appear at any moment, since He’s nearing Jerusalem. So He tells them this parable:

Jesus: A ruler once planned a journey to a distant country to take the throne of that country and then return home.Before his departure, he called 10 of his servants and gave them each about three months of wages. “Use this money to buy and sell until I return.” After he departed, the people under his rule despised him and sent messengers with a clear message: “We do not want this man to rule over us.”

He successfully assumed kingship of the distant country and returned home. He called his 10 servants together and told them to give an account of their success in doing business with the money he had entrusted to them.

The first came before him and said, “Lord, I have made 10 times the amount you entrusted to me.” The ruler replied, “Well done! You’re a good servant indeed! Since you have been faithful in handling a small amount of money, I’ll entrust you with authority over 10 cities in my new kingdom.”

The second came and said, “Lord, I’ve made five times the original amount.” The ruler replied, “I’ll entrust you with authority over five cities.”

A third came and said, “Lord, I have successfully preserved the money you gave me. I wrapped it up in a napkin and hid it away because I was afraid of you. After all, you’re a tough man. You have a way of taking a profit without making an investment and harvesting when you didn’t plant any seed.”

The ruler replied, “I will condemn you using your very own words, you worthless servant! So I’m a severe man, am I? So I take a profit without making an investment and harvest without planting seed? Then why didn’t you invest my money in the bank so I could have at least gained some interest on it?” The ruler told the onlookers, “Take the money I gave him, and give it to the one who multiplied my investment by 10.”

It is common to speculate about when the kingdom of God will fully arrive. But Jesus, through the previous parable, makes it clear that such speculation is a waste of time. Instead, people should be busy investing their lives in the kingdom of God. Earlier, in His encounter with the rich young ruler, Jesus invited the man to stop collaborating with the Roman Empire for his own benefit and to switch sides—so he could start working with the kingdom of God for the sake of the poor. The man refused; but soon after, a man named Zaccheus volunteered to do that very thing: to stop working for his own wealth by collaborating with Caesar’s kingdom and to start working for justice for the poor by collaborating with God’s kingdom. Speculation about the dates and times of the coming of the Kingdom can obscure the point—believers should live, starting now, in the way of the Kingdom.

Then the onlookers replied, “Lord, he already has 10 times the original amount!”

The ruler responded, “Listen, whoever has some will be given more, and whoever doesn’t have anything will lose what he thinks he has. And these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to rule over them—bring them here and execute them in my presence.”

When He finished the parable, He pushed onward, climbing the steep hills toward Jerusalem (vv. 11-28, The Voice).

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Categories: jesus, luke, parable
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