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The Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19)

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Luke 19

And he entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And a man named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector, and rich, 3 was seeking to see who Jesus was; but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 And he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him: Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house. 6 And he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying: He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord: Behold Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have wrongfully exacted something from anyone, I restore fourfold. 9 And Jesus said to him: Today salvation has come to this house, as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

The parable of the minas
   11 And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear. 12 He therefore said: A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 And he called ten servants of his, gave them ten minas and said to them: Trade with this until I return. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying: We do not want this man to reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, when he had returned, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. 16 And the first came before him, saying: Lord, your minas have made ten minas more. 17 And he said to him: Well done, you good servant. Because you were found faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying: Your minas, Lord, have made five minas. 19 And he said to him: And you are to be over five cities. 20 And another came, saying: Lord, behold, here is your mina, I kept it laid away in a piece of cloth, 21 for I feared you, because you are a hard man. You demand what you did not deposit, and reap that which you did not  sow. 22 He said to him: Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You thought that I am a hard man, demanding back what I did not deposit, and reaping that which I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest? 24 And he said to those that stood by: Take away from him the mina and give it to him that has the ten minas. 25 And they said to him: Lord, he has ten minas! 26 I say to you, that to everyone that has, shall be given, but from him that has not, even that which he has shall be taken away from him. 27 But bring here my enemies, and slay them before me, those who did not want me to reign over them.

Jesus enters Jerusalem
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying: Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you: Why do you untie him? You are to say: The Lord has need of him. 32 And they that were sent went away and found as he had said to them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, the owners of it said to them: Why do you untie the colt? 34 And they said: The Lord has need of him. 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their garments upon the colt and sat Jesus on it. 36 And as he went, they spread their garments on the road. 37 And as he was now drawing near, at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, saying: 38 Blessed is the King that comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!
   39 And some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him: Teacher, rebuke your disciples. 40 And he answered and said: I tell you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.
   41 And when he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying: If you had known in this day, even you, the things which belong to your peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies shall set up a barricade around you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and shall dash you to the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another. All this will happen because you did not perceive the time of your visitation.
   45 And he entered into the temple, and began to throw out those that were selling there, 46 saying to them: It is written: My house shall be a house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves!
   47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men of the people sought to destroy him. 48 But they could not figure out what they might do, because all the people so hung upon his words.



19:7 Fellowshipping with sinners through eating with them was seen as very wrong; the faithful Jew only fellowshipped with those who were “clean” and apparently not associated with sin. Jesus’ open table policy showed the very opposite. There is no ‘guilt by association’; He fellowshipped with people in order to bring them to Him, rather than only eating His bread with those who had reached a certain standard.

19:9 He was a Jew (“son of Abraham”), but worked for the Romans collecting taxes from the Jews. He would’ve been a very lonely, despised and rejected person. These are the kinds of people who respond to Jesus.

19:17 Ten cities- There is an element of unreality in the parable of the pounds: wise use of a few coins results in power over several cities. We are left to imagine the men marvelling in disbelief at the reward given to them. They expected at most just a few pounds to be given to them. And in their response we see a picture of the almost disbelief of the faithful at their rewards.

19:20 He justifies himself by saying that he has "kept" the money, using the word elsewhere used about the need to keep or hold on to the doctrines of the One Faith (1 Tim. 1:19; 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:13; Rev. 6:9). He had done this, he had held on, he hadn't left the faith. And he thought this was enough to bring him to the Kingdom. But we must creatively use the basic gift of the Gospel which we have been given.

19:23 Jesus will explain to the rejected how they might have entered eternity. This will be quite enough mental torment and punishment. The Law of Moses forbad Jews to lend money to other Jews for interest. Jesus was telling His parables to Jews in a Jewish context. He’s saying: “Even if you had done what was not the best, not the most obedient; but if you had done at least something , I would’ve accepted you’. But the man thought Jesus was a hard, grace-less man. Alternatively, Jesus may have meant: ‘You could at least have given the Gospel to the Gentiles’.

19:25 Even those accepted into God’s Kingdom won’t understand everything immediately. We will spend eternity eternally growing in the knowledge of God and Jesus.

19:27 Slay them- The punishment for the rejected will be death, “the second death” (Rev. 2:11); not eternal punishment of a conscious person.

19:37 Now drawing near- The verb tenses and style here encourage us to visualize Jesus ‘drawing near’. The Gospels often encourage us to play ‘Bible television’- to reconstruct how things happened as if the scene is playing live before our eyes.

19:41 This was the city which would kill Him- He had predicted that “Jerusalem” would kill him (Lk. 13:33). And yet Jesus had a heart that bled for the salvation of even His enemies and murderers. He so wished for their salvation (Lk. 13:34). Do we have a heart that bleeds for this world?