The crowds still think Jesus has come to overthrow the Roman occupation of the Jews. That’s why they supposed the kingdom would appear immediately. The Kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom at all, it’s God’s benevolent reign rather than realm. It began with the first coming of Christ, is ever increasing and will be consummated when He returns and recreates a new heaven on a new earth for his people to enjoy for ever.
Jesus tells a parable to explain some of what that means. Jesus is the nobleman off to another country to receive his kingdom – that would be the fact that He is about to depart to heaven after His death and resurrection. While he is away – so between the first and second comings – he gives 10 servants 1 mina each. A mina was the equivalent of 4 months wages. Note they all get the same, unlike the parable of the talents (equivalent to 20 years wages!) where each servant gets a different amount. This parable is about how we all have the same deposit of the gospel and are expected to bear fruit with it. The talents is about the differing gifts and anointing we are expected to bear fruit with! The fact that it is 10 servants not 12 signifies that Jesus is talking about all Christians who have been deposited with the gospel of grace.
There is reward for what we do, reward for faithful service. Note we are not earning favour by our service, we are operating from favour. When the King returns, the servants (us) appear before him. They then account for what they have done with the gospel. Some bear 10 x fruit, some 5 x fruit and so on. The unfaithful servant is different. He has done nothing with what he was given and is in trouble!
So who is the unfaithful servant? There are three options:
- True believer who gets in by the skin of his/her teeth with no reward, 1 Cor 3:15
- Not really a believer although they looked like one, Titus 1:16
- Not a believer at all – he didn’t know the true nature of the king, thinking he was harsh and severe.
It could be any of these, but I think it’s no. 3. He ends up with what he had taken away, and an enemy who doesn’t want Christ to reign v. 27.
J.C. Ryle wrote “Hard thoughts of God are a common mark of all unconverted people. They misrepresent Him and they try to excuse themselves for not loving and serving Him”
I am a firm believer in ‘once saved always saved’ – Scripture clearly shows us we are born again (how can we get unborn again), we are given a new nature where the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). For me, the clincher is that for us to be able to lose our salvation means that it somehow depends on us – which means it is by works not grace. This passage and others like 1 Corinthians 3 teach us that there is a reward for what we do with our salvation. Many of the warning passages that may look like we can lose our salvation are in fact about losing our inheritance.
So the big question is. Are you saved? What are you doing with what God has deposited in you. I am living to get that ‘well done good and faithful servant’. How about you?