The Nobleman

John 4:46-54 …And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heals his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe. The nobleman say unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son live. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son live. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son live: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee. 

The nobleman was either an officer or prince, (Acts 12:20-21; Jas. 2:8) one of the royal family or an officer of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. This was not the same miracle like that of the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:5-12 and Luke 7:1-10. The two miracles differ as to time, place, plea, the Lord’s answer, and the man’s faith, as can be seen from a comparison.

‘Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe’ – a statement showing the lack of absolute faith that the centurion of Matthew 8 demonstrated. Signs and wonders are given to make believers (Mark 16:15-20; John 5:20-36; 9:3-4; 10:25-38; 14:10-15). This is why Jesus went with him. If he did not at first believe, he did after Jesus gave him the promise of verse 50. Wanting to see works is nowhere condemned. It is when they are done and men still reject God that judgment will fall (Mat. 11:20-23; Luke 10:13).

‘Thy son lives’ – is the seventh New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John. ‘And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him and he went his way.’ – This, after all, is faith (Rom. 4:17; 10:17; Heb. 11:1). When faith is truly exercised one can go his way in absolute assurance that the work is done. Note that no definite prayer was given; merely a prophecy and a promise.

‘Began to amend’ – One of the most used scriptures today by certain ones who pray for the sick. It is said that Jesus did not always heal instantly, but sometimes gradually, so we are not always to expect an instantaneous healing. This is not the truth. It not only belittles the work of Christ but demonstrates that some teachers have no faith for an instantaneous miracle. This boy was healed the very hour Jesus said he would live (John 4:53) without medicine. If men today can get healing this quickly it will be like that which Jesus gave.

‘Whole house’ – If whole houses are saved, then they must all believe and be prepared to serve God. God saves no one on the faith of others.

Many Masters

James 3:1-2  My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 

When we ‘master’ others – teach – from the Word of God and we cannot contain our tongues (Jas. 1:26) and offend others by telling them what to do or how to live, we do more damage and no good whatsoever.  Our lives, not our words, should set the correct example, that is why our feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15) not our mouths. When we teach or reprove those who disrespect or dislike God’s Word, we bring shame on our testimony as followers of Christ (Pro. 9:7-9; Mat. 7:6) and cause others to stumble.  The Holy Spirit is the one to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8).  Matthew 23:10 says that we have one Master, Jesus Christ, and we must learn from Him – the Word (John 1:1, 14). Study the Word, not what others say about it, read your Bible so that you can develop faith, which comes through hearing (Rom. 10:17).  It is through prayer that we can contribute to change in others lives, and by walking in Christ’s footsteps: the life He lived while on earth (1Pet. 2:21-23) by setting a Christ-like example and not one we think is correct because of our own interpretations of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 24:45-51 KJV (Luke 12:42-48)

This parable begins by the words “Who then,” that is, in view of the suddenness of Christ’s coming at a time unexpected, who will not be faithful in the things that have been committed to him during the absence of the Lord? This parable illustrates faithfulness in view of the coming of Christ to the Earth to judge everyone according to the deeds done in the body. This judgment is the same as the judgment of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46. It is not the same as the judgment of the saints before the return of Christ:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Cor. 3:11-15 KJV

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.