Luke 19: 11-26 (Last Judgment 2016)
“Serving King Jesus”
Some parables of Jesus were designed just for the Pharisees of his day. This is one of them. But his lesson is for us, too. There is a Pharisee that lives in each of us. This week is Last Judgment Sunday. That means we take heed many encouragements from the Bible to be spiritually ready when the trumpet blast sounds and the Risen Lord Jesus returns. He desires to find us not only ready, but busily about the business of serving King Jesus in spiritual Kingdom.
Jesus had just been at the home of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. I am certain it was one of those moments in time when Jesus caught flack for sitting with “sinners”; the dregs of society. He knew they were watching. He knew they were paying attention. They were listening to him speak: “Salvation has come to this house today … for the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19: 10). As the Pharisees were still digesting that thought, he told them the parable of the King and the ten minas.
“We don’t want this man to be our King,” said the subjects in the story. This was his jab on the Pharisee attitudes of the day. As John said in his first chapter: “He came to his own and his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). Much of the Israelite clans refused to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah. In their hearts, they enthroned their own, self-given righteousness. They rejected Jesus as King and Savior. They lifted themselves up by putting others, like Zacchaeus, down.
Jesus has been made King, whether they liked it or not. He also makes us responsible to His kingdom. As Jesus told the parable he reminds us that the Servant-King commands us to be his servants. The first two subjects in the story took the duties seriously. They put the resources of the King to work and the results came back with blessings. The King blesses the work his servants do. They served the King and put the resources they had been given to work. They were praised and rewarded by the King.
The third servant in the story lends us a timely lesson. He seemed rational and justified in his own mind. He seemed to be frugal and wise. Yet, he ends up being the one rebuked. “I have kept it in a piece of cloth.” He was afraid to put anything to use and be judged on what might have been lost. And Jesus says, “I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant!” King Jesus does not desire that sit we on our hands. He is not pleased if the resources we have from him sit in storehouses and bank accounts unused. His point is made so emphatically that he closes the lesson this way: “those enemies of mine who did not want me to be King over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.”
There is a Pharisee in each of us. There is that rebellious, in-born enemy of God who refuses Lordship of Jesus. There is that stubborn natural voice in us that says, “I want to be king. I am king. I am the lord of my own life.” Consider those sad moments of your own sinful thoughts. We rationalize our laziness about the resources God had generously placed in front of us. We forget that they are not ours for us, but his gifts for us to put to use now for the sake of his kingdom. How often we have said, “I don’t want Jesus to be king/ I want to be servant of my own goals, my own desires, my own private thoughts.” Like coins in a cloth, we wrap up our relationship with Jesus. We attempt to put him out of our sight so that we can be little kings of our castles, just for a little awhile. Rather than live as servants in His kingdom, we foolishly think that we can run to places where he does not rule.
That Jesus seeks us out with an eager, servant-like, heart. He runs after us like he sought out Zacchaeus. He sought out Adam and Eve in the garden. He heard the cries of his people in Egypt. He was patient with Daniel and his people who wanted desperately to be home. He seeks you day by and calls for an account of repentance. But he does that because he longs to be the servant of the servants. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus is our Servant-King. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life and ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
This is the three-fold truth on which our faith depends
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. (CW 406)
So Jesus is coming back. The King will return and judge the living and the dead. His desire, his command, his love, will be to find us serving him with undivided motives and hearts. His desire, his love, his joy will be to say to each of us, “Well done, my good servant!”
How shall I make the best use of what God has given me? How shall I live an undivided life for Him? How do I view the wealth of my King’s storehouse of treasures which he has so graciously asked me use? Christ has poured out his life on the cross for you. He has wiped from his father’s memory all of our sins of laziness, our sins of greed, our sins of jealousy, our sins of habit and choice. His blood has cleansed us from an excuse that might rationalize why we shouldn’t live as willing and thankful servants to our King? Look at the minas in your life through lens of our gracious and forgiving King:
- Those who have a spouse and children treat them as if today was your last day with them.
- Those who are mourning the loss of loved, cling to the lips of children who whose simple faith speaks volumes about heaven being a real place where King Jesus rules.
- Those who have cause to rejoice in unexpected blessings: new position at work, opportunities for a young adult to enter new stages in life, or the pleasure of a hobby that brings a joyful smile and needed break from routine. These are minas ought that should not be wrapped up in the dish rag of woe, but be used as deposits on spreading the joy of Christ to others.
- See yourself richer in Christ than the Pharisee in us perceives us to be. See the treasures of the Gospel of Jesus as an unlimited storehouse of good things for the people around you.
Perhaps, a lesson of Last Judgment, and Jesus’ story, is the simple truth for us to use earthly resources to the best of our ability for his glory and for the eternal good of others. The Day will come when earthly resources will fade and will not be taken into glory. “For this world in its present form is passing away.”
Michael Jordan was quoted to have said: “Play every game like it was your last.” Fellow servants of our gracious King Jesus, the Day is surely drawing near. Serve your Savior and his kingdom as if today were Judgment Day. Live in love and the joy the life of grace that Christ’s blood has purchased for you. Serve the King who served you best and first. And look forward to the day when he will hold out his hand, usher you into his throne room and say, “Well done, my good servant.” Amen.