The Parable of the Ten Minas.

In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus is approaching Jerusalem and His crucifixion. The following crowd was anticipating Jesus to establish the Messianic Kingdom. He tells this parable to explain the coming delay before His reign.

Walking Through the Parable

The audience would immediately bring to mind a contemporary event: the establishment of Archelaus, a Jewish leader who was put in power by Rome.

In this parable, the nobleman represents Jesus as King and Son of Man (Daniel 7:10). The lesson is how people should steward the time before the King comes. The slaves represent believers in Jesus as the Messiah; the citizens represent national Israel, especially the leaders who rejected Jesus. Minas represent the message of the Gospel.

Notice that the nobleman's response to the two responsible servants contradicts the assessment of the third servant. He gives them lavish praise and great reward for their stewardship.

The first two servants call the money they had been entrusted with "your mina," not bragging about their own management but giving credit to their master. This can remind believers of a truth found throughout the New Testament. Salvation is not performance-based; yet true saving faith is active. (See Ephesians 2:8-9 and James 2.) Our natural tendency may be to do nothing; but increase requires effort.

There are two interpretations of the third servant. The first is that he represents a believer, since he is entrusted with the Gospel and is not finally judged with those who reject the ruler in verse 27. (See 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 for a description of unproductive believers.) Perhaps more convincing is the interpretation that he is not a believer, since he flagrantly disobeyed and assumed the worst of the master's character. Further, the word "another" in verse 20 (Greek "hetero") means of a different kind. John 8:26-59 shows how quickly some who professed to believe in Jesus can turn against Him.

Two Concluding Points

Severe judgement awaits those who reject Christ. This is the point of the startling end of the parable. Similar warnings are found in Luke 12:42-46 and Hebrews 10:26-31. Jesus' audience was familiar with the Old Testament Law and Prophecies which pointed to Him, so He warns not just of an intellectual but a practical rejection of Christ.

On the other hand, lavish reward awaits those faithful in stewardship. (See 1 John 3:1.) The servants didn't know that they would be so rewarded; they simply served out of love. Rewards do serve as a true incentive. Though we serve out of love, it's okay that rewards help motivate us.

German theologian Helmut Thielicke further explains, "The greatest blessing in this parable is the relationship that the reward brought. By being in charge of these cities, the servants will be closest to him and thus always have access to him and be able to speak to him and tarry in his presence at all times. Their reward is in the end that the Lord will receive them with honors, and that they will be privileged to speak and live with Jesus forever. For Heaven does not consist in what we will receive ... but rather in what we shall become, namely, companions of the King. What grace is this!"

Application Points

  • The first 2 servants did not brag about their own management but gave credit to their master. We should do the same with any service to our Lord Jesus, since He is the one who enables anything good we are able to do. Exalt Providence over your own ingenuity.
  • Salvation is not performance-based; yet true saving faith is active. Are you actively showing fruits that you are born again? Ask God to work this in you; and put forth effort to take the opportunities He gives you for doing good.
  • Does your life demonstrate faithful stewardship of the Gospel message entrusted to you? What does this look like? If someone spiritually close to you questioned your salvation, would you respond with anger or grief? If you are not a true servant of Christ, turn from the mere culture of Christianity and make Jesus your King.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Matthew 20:1-16, 1 Corinthians 2:9 – Other teaching about the reward for servants of Jesus.