THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we finished up by looking at Jesus encounter with Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. In this lesson, we will pick up right where we left off. So, let’s begin with another parable.
Luke 19:11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' 15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 "Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 "Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.' 20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what 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 who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 'But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.' "
There are many similarities between this parable of the minas and the parable of the 10 talents. Though our parable is similar in meaning as the one found in the 10 talents, there are some differences such as the amount of money given and where it was taught. Now, I am not going to go into great detail, but I would like to break this done to a degree. So, let’s look at section at a time.
Luke 19:11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
This is referring to the crowd that heard what Zacchaeus and Jesus had said. Jesus knowing that the Jews were confused about the kingdom associated with Him, He took this opportunity to teach them a parable about the kingdom to help them understand that it would not come about like they thought nor would be a physical kingdom. As Jesus pointed out earlier in:
Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
In fact, listen to what J.W. McGarvey said about our passage.
The opening words show the parable which follows was spoken in the house of Zacchaeus. So far as the record shows, this was the first time in his ministry that Jesus ever approached Jerusalem with a crowd. By thus approaching it with a multitude it seemed to the people that Jesus was consenting to be crowned. And they were filled with those dreams and expectations, which a few days later resulted in the triumphal entry. All things pointed to a crisis, and the people were eagerly looking for honors and rewards under the new ruler. Jesus corrected these false hopes by a parable which showed that there must be patient waiting and faithful work before there could any season of reward. (The fourfold gospel).
Next we read:
12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
Keep in mind that the Jews are thinking Jesus is about to become king and start the physical kingdom like that under David, but Jesus is letting them know this not true. The nobleman represents Jesus, and in order for the kingdom to begin Jesus had to die and the Holy Spirit had to be sent. So, we know that this far country is heaven where Jesus is. As Peter said:
Acts 2:32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
Jesus has already received His kingdom and is He is reigning over it right now, but He will come back and then deliver that kingdom to God the Father, which will have its eternal resting place in heaven.
In this parable, the servants are given 10 minas, which is about three years of pay for the common worker back then, but the amount is not the focus. The focus on is taking what your master has blessed you with and making good use of it. Though the master is gone, business should go on as usually just as if He was there.
This teaches us that we are not just supposed to enjoy the blessings that Jesus has provided for us, we are supposed to continue to labor for Him until He comes again, which is referring to His second coming.
14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
The citizens represent the opposing Jews who did not want anything to do with Jesus even though they had been waiting for the Messiah all this time. In fact, we see the Jews almost saying exactly what was said in the parable as we read in:
John 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" 15 But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away. 17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. 21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews." ' " 22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Next, we read:
15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 "Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 "Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
Now, it is time for the judgment day. When their master return, He calls all 10 servants and begins to find out what they have done in His absence. The first two servants that stand before Him gave Him a good report as one earned an additional 10 minas and the other 5. He was happy with what they did, and He gave them different rewards. He put one man over 10 cities and the other over 5.
This shows us that when Jesus returns, there will be a judgment day. If we have done well by serving Him, then we too will be pleasing to Jesus and we will receive the reward of heaven. Perhaps there are various degrees of rewards to be had in heaven, but personally that is not important to me, as long as I am in heaven, it will be enough for me. There will be faithful servants like the two we just looked at, but there will also be servants like the one we read about next.
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what 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 who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Unlike the one talent man of Matthew 25 who hid his money in the ground, this man just kept the money in a handkerchief and tried giving it back to the master while making excuses of why he did not do anything with it. He basically blamed the master for his apathy because he was afraid of his master since He was an austere man, which means harsh, rough, or rigid.
The master uses the man’s argument against him, and makes the point if you knew I was a harsh man, then why in the world would you do nothing? You could have at least put my money in the bank so that some interest would be made. So, the master passed judgment on this wicked servant and gave what he had to the man with 10 minas.
The ‘they’ in this verse who seem to be complaining about the master giving the 10 mina man 10 more seems to refer to the other servants, but the message is clear. God will give more to those who have been laboring in His kingdom and will take away whatever the unfaithful servant has. We have no reason to worry about it if someone who is blessed with much is blessed with more, just be happy to be a servant of the Lord.
Finally, we read:
Luke 19:27 'But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.' "
I think this is ultimately pointing to when Jesus comes back and the wicked are sent are sent hell, which is what is meant by slaying them before me. Though it is referring to those Jews at that time who did not want Him to reign over them, I think it represent all who do not make Jesus their king. However, some say this has a partial fulfillment by how many of these opposing Jews were cut down by the Romans in A.D. 70. However, the destruction of Jerusalem was just a precursor to the ultimate destruction that will happen when Jesus returns. Since this parable has to do with Jesus’ return, it also tells me that it is referring to the events that take place then and not at the destruction of Jerusalem.
So, the overall thought is, use what God has blessed you with. Do not just sit around and do nothing, get busy with doing the work of the kingdom because when you do, you will be pleasing to God, and you will be prepared when the master comes back home.
Now we must jump over to John’s account to keep things in chronological order.
John 11:55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, "What do you think -- that He will not come to the feast?" 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.
All Jewish males were required to attend the Passover, and many had arrived early so they could make themselves ceremonially clean. Many of them were talking and wondering if Jesus would show up for the feast. Earlier, the Sanhedrin council had secretly sought to kill Jesus, but now they have made it known publicly that they want to seize Jesus. While this would have seemed like another Passover to most, it would be Jesus’ last Passover.
John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 "For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."
Jesus came to Bethany on Friday, and at some point during that week, His friends made Him supper. Lazarus was still alive and living a normal life except for the extra attention he was receiving for being raised from the dead. Lazarus is the only person in the New Testament that has anything written about his life after being raised from the dead. It would be safe to say that he had a greater appreciation of life now. He was also getting more attention than he was used to because many of the Jews wanted to see the man who had been raised from the dead. The Sanhedrin council had ordered the Jews to report to them if Jesus was in the area, but Jesus’ friends were not going to abide by their wishes.
Mary takes a pound of expensive oil of spikenard and anoints Jesus’ feet with it, and then she wipes His feet with her hair. Thayer defines spikenard as follows:
Nard, the head or spike of a fragrant East Indian plant belonging to the genus Valeriana, which yields a juice of delicious odor which the ancients used (either pure or mixed) in the preparation of a most precious ointment (Thayer).
One reason this oil was so expensive was because it was transported for thousands of miles to be sold in Jerusalem. Based on our text, we can tell that it was a strong perfume because it filled the house with its fragrance. This was a humble act by Mary, but Judas did not like it because he wanted to have access to the money it could have been sold for. He claimed he wanted it for the poor, but John tells us that his true motive was to take the money for himself because he was a thief, which shows the greedy nature of Judas and it explains the reason he was willing to sell Jesus out for thirty silver pieces. But Jesus rebuked him because He approved of what Mary did for Him. The value of the oil was 300 denarii, which means it would take a typical laborer about a year to make that much money.
When Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.” He was basically saying, “Do not bother her, because she was going to use this oil for my burial, but she has given it to me beforehand.” This same event is recorded in Matthew and Mark, but the information is slightly different.
Matthew 26:6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9 "For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor." 10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 "For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 "For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 "For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply. 6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 "For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 "She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
Here we have another classic example of where these different accounts work together to tell the full story. Both Matthew and Mark agree that the event happened in Bethany in Jesus’ final week, but they add that the oil was in an alabaster flask, which was a vase with “a rather long neck which was broken off when the contents were used (BDAG).” They teach us that she anointed His head, and John adds that she anointed His feet and wiped them with her hair. They also teach us that the house they met in belonged to Simon the leper. While they do not name this woman, John does. Finally, they tell us that Jesus wanted this woman to be remembered wherever the gospel is preached.
Before we leave this topic, we need to examine another story that is given in Luke’s account.
Luke 7:36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." 40 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." 41 "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 "And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 "You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
Some believe this is just another account of Mary the sister of Lazarus, and it adds that Mary was a sinner, and Simon the leper was a Pharisee. However, I do not believe this is talking about the same story because the facts say otherwise. While there are similarities in these stories, I will provide enough evidence to show that Luke’s story is talking about a different event that happened at a different time, location, and with different people.
We have two different men named Simon. There is Simon the leper and Simon the Pharisee. Not only are they identified differently, their characteristics are different as well. In Luke 7, Simon the Pharisee was not that great of a host because He did not greet Jesus with a kiss as the custom was, and he did not provide Him with water for his feet or oil for His head. He was also very critical of Jesus.
However, Simon the leper does not have any negative things recorded about him. While I cannot be dogmatic about this, it is possible that Jesus healed Simon of his leprosy because he was no longer a leper or he would not be able to be around these other people at this time. While it is possible for Simon the leper to have been a Pharisee, there is not enough evidence to prove that these two men were one in the same.
Another big difference is that Jesus rebukes Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7, but in the other accounts, He rebukes the disciples and points out Judas as being the main instigator of those complaining about the wasted money. Another big problem is that Luke’s story is recorded while John the Baptist was still alive (Lk.7:19), yet the story in Matthew, Mark, and John happened in the last week of Jesus’ life. Also, Luke’s account happened when Jesus was in Galilee (Lk. 7:11), but the other accounts happened in Bethany in Judea.
The Marys are different as well. The Mary of Luke 7 was a known sinner, and the Jews would have had nothing to do with her. However, the other Mary and Martha are considered godly women and there were many Jews who were willing to come and comfort them when their brother Lazarus died (Jn. 11:19). If she had been a known sinner, she would not have had many Jews comforting her.
Finally, there were two different purposes for the anointing. Luke’s account was about a sinful woman who came before Jesus in need of forgiveness. She was so grieved by her sin that she wept and got tears on Jesus’ feet, and then she wiped her tears with her hair. Next, she anointed His feet with the oil and kissed them. There is no hint of her doing this for the preparation for His death. Instead, it was done as an act of humiliation and grief for her sins. Jesus forgives her of her sins.
When we compare this anointing to the other accounts, we see a difference. Mary is not crying, nor does the text say anything about her being a known sinner or having her sin forgiven by Jesus. Instead of wiping tears away from Jesus feet, she used her hair to wipe away the excess oil. Her anointment was for the preparation for the burial of Jesus. All this evidence proves that Luke’s account is talking about a similar, yet different anointing than the account found in Matthew, Mark, and John.
In conclusion, I hope you have found what I presented in this lesson helpful and informative, and I certainly hope that we all learned from the parable of the minas how important it is that we labor in God’s kingdom by using what He blessed us with because Jesus is coming back and we do not want to be found living a life of apathy.