The parable of the Ten Minas which Jesus told in Luke 19 is an interesting parable because it’s the only parable Jesus told that was based on an actual historical event. Jesus had visited Jericho, healed a blind man, visited with Zacchaeus, and now He was heading toward Jerusalem. Jericho is 1,300 feet below sea level, the lowest city in the world, and Jerusalem in about 2,500 feet above sea level. This 20 mile road was an uphill climb in more ways than one because Jesus knew that within a week He would be arrested, tortured and crucified.
Studying a parable of Jesus is like peeling an onion. There are several layers of meaning and application. This parable has an extra skin because this event really happened. So, let’s peel the onion and get down to the core of what God is trying to say to us. Today we will start by looking at historic meaning from Luke 19:11-14.
In 4 B.C. Archelaus (son of Herod the Great) travelled to Rome to be crowned ruler of Judea. Herod the Great wasn’t so great. He gave himself that title because he was such a great builder. Herod was the one we read about in the Christmas story.
When Herod died, there was confusion over his will (he had written six of them). Both Antipas and Archelaus claimed the throne. So, as in the parable Jesus told, Archelaus traveled to Rome to have Caesar Augustus confirm him as ruler. The Jews were outraged with the prospect of Archelaus because he was as brutal as his father. They sent an official delegation of 50 of the leading Jews to Rome to oppose Archelaus as ruler.
Meanwhile, Archelaus bribed many of his supporters to work as his representatives while he was in Rome. Augustus didn’t crown Archelaus, instead he made him a ruler of Judea, and gave Galilee to Herod’s son, Antipas, and the area to the east of the Jordan to Herod’s other surviving son, Phillip.
Archelaus was so angry that when he returned to Jerusalem, he had thousands of Jews who opposed him put to death. Archelaus is mentioned only once in the Bible. When Joseph and Mary returned to Israel after fleeing to Egypt, Matthew 2:22 says when they heard Archelaus was ruler of Judea, they bypassed the area and went to Galilee. So this is more than a fictional parable. It’s based upon something that actually occurred
Jesus used this actual event in Luke 19:11-26 as the basis to describe what was going to happen spiritually. Verse 11 records many of the Jews thought the Kingdom of God was going to appear at that moment. There were certain aspects of the Kingdom of God Jesus embodied. After all, He was the King. But Jesus told this parable to confirm the full revelation of the literal Kingdom of God would only occur after He had departed and returned.
Our source of strength today is not in government, money or armies but in our God who has sealed us with His Holy Spirit and wrapped us in His arms of love! Our King is coming back! When Jesus came the first time, He was he Lamb of God slain to take away the sin of the world. When He comes again, it will be as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! He came the first time as the gentle Jesus, meek and mild; when He returns; it will be as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And as the Bible says, “And He shall reign forever and ever!”