Something I’ve only now noticed is that the reason Jesus taught this parable is because the people traveling with Him thought He was going to establish God’s kingdom on earth as soon as He got to Jerusalem. It’s also curious that Jesus models the ruler in the story after Archelaus, Herod the Great’s son. Herod’s sons all took a trip to Rome in the hopes of getting a kingdom. Archelaus’s Jewish subjects sent a delegation to Rome as well to plead with Caesar not to make him their king. This is recent enough history in Jesus’s time that everyone around would remember it and know exactly who Jesus was referring to.
Then Jesus talks about business ventures. So often, I’ve heard that the minas given to the servants are spiritualized as representing gifts from the Holy Spirit that need to be used for Christian ministry. Considering the express purpose that Luke gives for the parable, that doesn’t seem to fit. Instead, this story seems to be a playbook on how to live under the authority of a wicked ruler.
The servant that failed to do any business with his mina describes his master as “severe” and “[taking] what [he] did not deposit”. (v. 21) That makes this king a thief and a bully. And the king hardly denies it, but proves the servant right by taking away his mina to give to the first servant. Then he has his political enemies killed in front of him.
If this story is told because people mistakenly thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately, then we should take it to mean this is what life is like before it does appear. Evil men will be installed into positions of power. They will reward those who please them and punish those who don’t. Do well with all the responsibilities you are given, and trust in the Lord to deliver you.
We long for You to bring justice to the world.