The parable of the ten minas is a very similar parable to one we have already discussed in the parable of the talents. In Luke 19, where the ten minas parable takes place, some context is given that is not as clear as in Matthew 25 and thus it is worth looking over. These parables are not identical but their similarities and differences help us understand the big picture of what is going on. Let’s dive into this parable.
The parable of the ten minas comes right before Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19. The next is saturated with this idea and looking at it in any other way would be missing the point of why Luke puts it here. You can read the parable and come back here for discussion and implication.
Luke gives us the reason why Jesus gave this parable which is crucial for its interpretation. In Lue 19:11 it says, “While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” The incident before this statement was that of Zaccheus and how Jesus is claiming he came to seek and save the lost. After this, Jesus gave them a parable because people thought the kingdom of God was coming soon, within days even. Jesus is approaching Jerusalem and the people have this idea that God’s kingdom is coming to obliterate Rome’s rule of the Jewish people and reign victoriously over the Earth. That is what the people are thinking and so Jesus uses a parable to adjust their thinking of the kingdom. So he tells the parable of the ten minas.
Now a mina was a unit of currency and one mina was worth about three months’ wages. So the fact that this king gave his servants ten minas means that this king had money trust in his servants to do what he asks. The parable is set up like this. A man who is set to be king, goes to a distant country (not the one he is living in) to set himself up as king over this distant land and then come home. So he gives his servants ten minas so they can make more while he’s gone and he leaves. Then we see that the subjects of this distant country don’t want this man to be king over them, but he is made their king regardless and he returns home. Upon arrival, he summons his servants to find out what he had gained with it. The story follows a similar pattern as the talents parable as the first two gained money and the last servant hid the money and gained nothing. Then the king wants those who did not want him to be king to be brought to him and killed. Then after the parable, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem.
To gain an understanding of significance for us, we have to pay attention to context. Jesus is announcing God’s kingdom, the people think the kingdom is coming in the way they expect and Jesus is going to turn their thinking around once he enters Jerusalem. He tells this parable because they think a certain way and so the point of the parable is to change their thinking of the kingdom. Israel’s leaders of that day had already rejected Jesus as anyone worth paying attention to, let alone to view him as the king of Israel. Israel’s leaders are the ones who rejected him in the parable and the faithful servants are his followers and the unfaithful servant is those who still do not understand. The king has come in Jesus and there are those who have rejected him and those who follow him. What is interesting about the ending of the parable is that there is a reversal as to what actually happens in the course of the events in Jerusalem. In the parable, the rebels are killed in front of the king. In reality, Jesus the king, is the one killed in front of the rebels, taking their place. This twist brings an awakening to those who expect the coming of God’s kingdom in the way they expect it.
The meaning or application of this parable for us today is usually applied in some way that discusses how we use what we are given. Although this is a way to think about those things, it does not keep the context of the story of Jesus. Jesus if offering the kingdom and the people he is speaking to are left with a choice. Do they ignore Jesus and await the kingdom in the way they want it to? Or do they listen to Jesus’s words as he goes to Jerusalem and understand the true values of God’s kingdom? We as readers of this parable are left with the same choice today. We all have to make the choice about the kingdom of God. The question is will we ignore it or will we hear the words of Jesus and respond like the faithful servants?