The Book of Luke, “Occupy till I come!” Part I - Lesson 204
Luke 19:11-27, 11And 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. 12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. 27But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
The Gospels are replete with the parables of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 13:35 tells us this was a mark of the Messiah for he quotes:
Psalm 78:2-4, I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
And in the telling of parables Matthew adds that Jesus Christ uttered things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
We are told in Matthew 13:34 that all that Jesus told the multitudes was given in the form of parables and without a parable spake he not unto them.
But when he was alone with the disciples Jesus expounded the parables for he said in Mark 4:11-12:
Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Jesus used parables to conceal, to hide the true meaning so those He was not working with would not understand.
He used parables to make it more difficult to understand — not easier!
John the Baptist preached a mechanism for entry into the select group who would understand the mysteries of the kingdom and that mechanism was the act of repentance and the receiving of the Messiah.
The purpose of parables then was to instruct those within, without revealing the items of instruction to the ones who were without.
This is in accordance with the principle that spiritual understanding is restricted to those who have become spiritual by being properly related to Jesus Christ.
God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
There is no worship of God apart from this principle.
God does not intend to provide spiritual understanding to the devil’s crowd but reserves it for his own.
Paul speaks of this I Cor. 2:6-8, Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
And in I Cor 2:14, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This ought to be a lesson to us whereby we learn that our witness to the lost should always be that which brings them entry into the light of God’s word.
Believing the Gospel is that which brings them entry into the kingdom of God, not teaching about the evils of evolution, or the evils of abortion, or the evils of sexual deviancy.
All things are to be done decently and in order and for a man or woman to understand spiritual things they must first be born of the Spirit for the parables will only will be opened to those who are born into the family of God.
As we begin to study this parable we must note the purpose of the parable.
Jesus tells us two reasons why he, at this time, is telling this parable.
11And 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.
The first reason for telling this parable relates to time and location.
It was near the time that he was to enter Jerusalem and he was also near Jerusalem.
The second reason was that they, the multitudes, and the disciples thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
In other words, in their minds, the kingdom’s coming was imminent.
So this parable provides a caution to those who think the kingdom, that is the Lord’s coming, is imminent.
Based on this, is there something wrong about thinking the Lord is coming soon or his coming is imminent?
I think the answer in light of this parable is that, yes, there is something that may cause a disciple to err if there is an over emphasis on the imminent coming of the kingdom.
Holding a position of the imminent return of our Lord may cause a disciple to improperly act or not act on the Lord’s behalf.
It was true that the Messiah was entering Jerusalem.
It was true that the scriptures foretold of his coming, but there was no one who looked for two comings.
They believed that that which Isaiah and Jeremiah and Zechariah and other prophets spoke of, was to be of their time and place, in spite of what Christ told the disciples about his suffering and death.
The thought that Isaiah in chapter 40:9,10 told of what was about to happen in Jerusalem, O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 10Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him
Jeremiah 3:17, At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Jeremiah 33:16, In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
Zechariah 8:3, Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
These verses just read, speak of Christ’s second coming but this verse in Zechariah 9:9 speaks of what is about to take place: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
So the mindset of Israel is that once the Messiah appears the kingdom of the Messiah will also come.
We have been told that the disciples were not able to understand otherwise.
They, like many others, have their heads filled with glorious thoughts of the kingdom of God, and expect it to come at any moment.
As we have read from the prophets they knew that Jerusalem was not only the capital of Israel, and the throne of the king, it was the place where they expected the kingdom to begin.
Therefore the closer they got to Jerusalem the more they believed the kingdom of God was imminent.
And to Jesus Christ this is a problem that he aims to correct by the telling of this parable.
The crowd is singing “Happy Days are Here again” in Hebrew of course, but Christ wants his disciples to know that the kingdom is indeed not imminent for when he is crucified they will no longer hear the cheers of the crowds for the crowd will disappear and they will be left alone.
But he wants them to know that this is not the end for the Master will return and they are to be ready regardless of the length of the Master’s absence.
Now the man of the parable which he tells them in response to their enthusiasm, was a nobleman.
He was a person of position and power but we are told that he was to become a man of even greater power and position for he was about to become a king.
In order to do this he had to travel to a distant country.
Perhaps he had to be crowned by a higher king but he would return to his land and assume the power of king over his people.
Being a good business man and knowing that he was to be absent for some time he called his servants to him, to give them their orders.
He gave each of his ten servants one pound which, which is thought to be equal to about 100 days wages, a substantial amount of money in any day.
He gave a specific command to his servants as to what to do with the money.
The command, stated “Occupy till I come” which means to engage yourself in my business.
This money is not yours but mine and you are to put the money to work until I come.
The master expected to get back more than he put into the hands of his servants.
Now in the world system all money has a time value.
Today’s $10 bill is worth more than $10 one year later.
Anyone can realize this for it does not take a great deal of intelligence to get simple interest at a bank.
If you put your money in your mattress your money is constantly losing its value.
So bank interest was the least that was expected from each servant for each servant was expected to return more than he was given at the beginning of the Master’s journey.
Now also in the land of this nobleman, were men called in this parable, citizens.
The citizens we are told hated the nobleman and did not want this man to rule over them as king.
They voiced no opposition until he left on his journey and then they sent a message after him, stating that they would not have him to rule over them.