What difference are you making?

I trust that people who read my blog or watch the YouTube videos are followers of Jesus.

Jesus taught his followers by his words and actions how to live as citizens of God’s kingdom. He told parables to grab our attention and to convince us to embrace his attitudes and behavior, contrary to that of the world’s system.

The Parable of the Ten Pounds begins with an illustration that was familiar to his audience.

The Day of the Lord

Luke 19.11-12As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return.

Rudy points out in today’s video that the expectations of the Day of the Lord that stem from the Old Testament prophets coincided with the holidays that accompanied the time of Jesus’ movement toward Jerusalem.

Pilgrims to these festivals were part of the crowd that followed Jesus. When you combine the miracles that they witnessed with the events that the holidays commemorated, anticipation for a dramatic move of God was high.

For a nobleman to travel to Rome to be appointed to an office was customary in the first century.

Assignments to Slaves

It has been said that the Roman Empire would have collapsed if it hadn’t been for the slaves. Many slaves were educators and administrators for their owners, different from the nature of slavery in the early part of our nation’s history.

The nobleman called his slaves and entrusted them with responsibilities to be fulfilled while he was out of the country.

Luke 19.13-17 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’

“But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’

“When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.

“The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’

“He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’

The nobleman expected his administrator/slave to be active while he was gone. When he produced ten more pounds, he was rewarded with added responsibility.

The idea of a delegation that didn’t want the nobleman to rule took place with the son of Herod, Archelaus. A delegation of Jews went to Rome to ask the Emperor to not install Archelaus as a governor over a region of Israel.

Bad News

A second administrator/slave also produced well and was rightly rewarded with more responsibility.

However, there was a different story about a third one.

Luke 19.20-23“Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth,

“‘For I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’

“He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

“‘Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’”

If the crowd mentally identified the nobleman in the parable with Archelaus, they may have agreed with this man about the character of the master.

Whether the nobleman had a good character or not, it was the responsibility of the administrator/slave to produce a profit with what had been entrusted to him.

Judgment Time

The nobleman judged both the third slave and the delegation that opposed his rule.

Luke 19.24-27 “He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’

“(And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’)

“‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.

“‘But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

Who we identify as the nobleman provides an understanding to the parable.

In today’s video, Rudy identifies the nobleman with the evil one, who rules the world’s system. He sees a connection between this parable and the Book of Revelation. I hope you will listen to the video for Rudy’s thoughts.

I see the nobleman as a picture of God, who has expectations for the citizens of his kingdom. Even though Rudy and I differ in our identification of the person of the nobleman, we agree on some fundamental questions.

— Do we welcome God’s rule in our lives?

— What are we doing with the gifts God has given to us?

— Do we trust God to be good and worthy of our best efforts?

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I have a 10 minute YouTube video on this parable. It is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. I hope you will take the time to listen to it.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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