The Parable of the Pounds

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.  And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.  (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.  But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.  Luk. 19:11-27 KJV

The story actually fits the experience of Herod who left Jericho to go to Rome to obtain the kingdom of Judea (Josephus, Antiquities, 14:9-15; 17:3-4; 18:7,21), facts of which were well known. Whether this is what Jesus used is not stated, but there is no doubt that all of Christ’s illustrations were true happenings of life that His hearers knew about or would recognize as factual and true.

This parable illustrates the postponement of the kingdom of God, or literally the “Kingdom of Heaven” aspect of the kingdom of God. Jesus offered Himself as the King of the Jews and had announced the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Mt. 4:17 He was rejected by the Jews; so it became necessary to postpone the kingdom until His Second Coming. Mt. 11:20-24; 23:37-39; 27:25

The other point illustrated beside the postponement of the kingdom of God is that of the action of the servants and citizens. In the parable the servants would be the king’s personal attendants and the citizens the subjects of the king. As applied to the kingdom of God, the servants would be the ministers and true believers who are to propagate the gospel of the kingdom, and the citizens would be the Jews who rejected Christ and the gospel. Jn. 1:11; 15:18-25; Mt. 27:21-25

The occasion of this parable of the pounds was that some thought Christ would immediately set up His kingdom. Lk. 19:11 The nobleman illustrates Christ, who was going into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom and to return. Lk. 19:12; Dan. 7:13-14  The nobleman giving pounds to his servants, saying, “Occupy till I come,” illustrates the responsibility Christ places upon His servants until His Second Coming. Lk. 19:13; Mt. 16:28; 28:19-20  The subjects of the nobleman rejecting him illustrates the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Lk. 19:14; Mt. 23:37-39; 27:25  The nobleman returning with power to reign illustrates Christ’s return in glory to set up His kingdom and deal with His enemies. Lk. 19:15, 27; Mt. 24:37-51; 25:31-46

The judgment of the servants by the nobleman illustrates Christ’s judging and rewarding His servants at the Second Coming. Some servants are going to have greater authority in the kingdom of Heaven than others, and this will be determined upon the basis of faithfulness and work accomplished for God. Lk. 19:15-19; Mt. 16:28; 25:31-46

A pound is equal to 100 drachme, or $65 each for the ten servants. “Thy pound hath gained five pounds” The $65 had gained $325, so the servant was given authority over 5 cities. “Thy pound hath gained ten poundsThe $65 had gained $650. This showed much ability, so he was given authority over ten cities.

The rejection of the servant that did not gain anything for his lord illustrates the rejection of the wicked and slothful servants. Lk. 19:20-25; Mt. 24:37-51 “Thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkinA handkerchief, or sweat cloth is used here and this man lost out through fear of consequences should he lose the money in seeking to gain more. He was not worthy of further trust.

The pound taken from the wicked servant and given to a faithful servant illustrates the law of increase – that which is used increases. Lk. 19:26; 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-10

That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him” In the East it was a custom to give presents to the rich, but a poor man received none and was an easy victim of others to take what little he had. This is spoken by the nobleman of Luke 19:12, which is the same principle as that of Jesus in Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18. It illustrates that worthy ones will be rewarded and others will not. Mt. 16:27; 25:29; 2Cor. 5:9-10

“Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” The nobleman Lk. 19:12 is still speaking, but it illustrates that Christ will also come again and will set up a kingdom and punish His enemies. Mt. 25:31-46; 2Th. 1:7-10; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14

May I be found true, tried and trusted and always represent my God in a manner that will allow others to also want to follow Him.

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