As we go through this parable, do not lose track of who we are dealing with and where we are. This parable was given by the King Himself – the Lord Jesus Christ – and He was just days from the cross. His words – often written in red – are always important, but at this juncture as the Lamb of God shortly to be sacrificed, His words should scream to us. We have made the obvious leap that this nobleman mentioned by Jesus is speaking of Christ Himself. He is going away to receive for himself a kingdom and return. He has called ten servants to Himself, given them money to invest, and told them to do business until He returns. The world that He created sent a delegation after him rejecting his right to reign.
We likened the parable to a precise New Testament equivalent found in Ephesians 4:7-16. The King, the Lord Jesus, now crucified, buried, and having risen from the dead is ascending back to His Father. As He did, He equipped His people to help build His church. Like the servants in the parable, we are to do business (use our gifts) until our King returns to establish His kingdom.
Let’s continue the parable. “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise, he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’” (Luke 19:15-19).
The meaning is clear. Jesus Christ is going to return to establish His kingdom on a renewed earth and reign as King for a thousand years (Rev. 19:11-16; Rev. 20:1-7; Zech. 14:9). Hence, the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” will be fulfilled.
The nobleman called his servants to himself to know how much each servant had earned by trading. This is an exact parallel to the Judgment Seat (the Bema) of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Every Christian will stand before Christ to give an account of how they used their giftedness, not of their sin (that was placed on Christ) but their grace work.
Paul wrote, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom. 14:10-13).
In our Lord’s parable, the first servant’s mina earned ten minas. The nobleman responded, “Well done, good servant, because you were faithful in little have authority over ten cities.” Two points become clear. There will be cities in the Lord’s kingdom, and we are given the potential of reigning with our King as partakers (metachoi, servant kings) of His kingdom (Hebrews 3:14).
The second servant in the parable was called. His mina had earned five minas. The nobleman said to him, “You also be over five cities.” Notice that the reward equals exactly the effort made. The King, who knows all the facts, will judge fairly. The details of the Judgment Seat of Christ are found in 1 Corinthians 3. Paul said that we are all to have a part in building on the foundation laid by our Lord. He likened us to farmers. He said some will plant, others will water, but it will be God who gives the increase. But Paul said that we will all receive our own reward according to our own labor.
The Judge will be fair (1 Cor. 3:6-8). Carefully read Paul’s words written to the church at Corinth. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:9-15). Take special note of the words in italics, “But take heed how he builds on it.” (1 Cor. 3:10). Stay safe and stay tuned.