“Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
“And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ” (Luke 19:20-27)
Sometimes, you have to wonder what a person was thinking. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. His disciples thought Jesus was about to become the new king over Israel. The purpose of Jesus’ parable was to correct their erroneous thought.
Jesus told a parable about a king who went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. Though most of the king’s servants were wise, one made poor choices and lost everything as a consequence, joining the fate of those who had rejected the king. Jesus’ story might have reminded his disciples about Herod and his descendents, who ruled the people of Israel because Rome had given the throne to them. For instance, after Herod the Great died in 4 BC, his son Archelaus went to Rome to have his father’s will confirmed, so he could become king in his place. A group of Jewish leaders followed him to Rome to protest his appointment.
Jesus knew he would be betrayed by Judas, rejected by the religious leadership of Israel and die at the hands of the Romans. Judas would lose his place, while the religious leaders would lose their place when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed within a generation. Meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples would be left behind to work without him. He wanted them—and us—to work in confidence, knowing that Jesus would come back again. And when he finally returned, he’d bring us our reward.