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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 48 - Luke 19:11-27 - The Lowest and the Highest Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




The Lowest And Highest.


Luke 19:11-27



     This parable is spoken to correct a mistake among his followers. They thought that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear or be "manifested." It does not seem that their views of the nature of the kingdom were incorrect. These were not so carnal as we sometimes suppose. They believed in the promised kingdom; and in Jesus as the promised King; and in Jerusalem as the center or metropolis. Our Lord does not interpose to correct these beliefs; but assumes them as true. But they were wrong as to the time. They thought it immediate. He corrects this in the following parable. He shews them that He must first suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. Let us bring out the meaning of the parable under the following heads or points, the three persons or classes of persons, the three events, the three transactions.

     I. The three classes of persons.

     1. The nobleman. It is literally the "high-born man." This is Christ's name; the name of Him who is the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father. He is higher than the kings of the earth. His is a heavenly parentage; and His relationships are all divine. In all senses He is a nobleman; the heir of a kingdom.

     2. The servants. Not His disciples only of that day; not the Jews only; but all who enter His service by believing in His name and following him. As He was the Father's servant, so are we his. Each one who calls himself a Christian undertakes this service. These servants are not all alike faithful, or alike zealous; nor are they all alike gifted. But they all profess to be doing his work.

     3. The citizens. Not the men of Jerusalem only or Judea, but the men of this earth. They are subjects of his kingdom, in so far as they are dwellers on his earth. They hear of him and of his claims to rule; but they hate and reject him. These are the open rejectors of the Lord. Yet they are called citizens, "His citizens."

     II. The three events.

     1. The departure. This nobleman comes to the region where his kingdom is to be; but there is a hindrance as to his immediate occupancy of the throne. He must leave and go to some far country to receive the kingdom and to return. So Christ came to earth, the seat of his promised empire; but not as monarch, or at least not to exercise his sovereignty. He must depart. He must go to the Father to receive the kingdom. He has gone; and He is in that country now.

     2. The absence. He is now absent. He is preparing for the day of sovereignty. He is receiving the kingdom; and proving the servants and the citizens in his absence. He proves the servants, making this day of his absence the special day of service; and giving to each one work to do, as well as gifts to do it with. It is in his absence that we are specially called to shew our service,-to be faithful and zealous.

     3. The return. He is not always to remain in this far country. He is to return when the fullness of the times has come. He comes back with honour and glory to a kingdom. His shame and sorrow are done. He has come to be glorified, to reign. This same nobleman, this same Jesus will come,-He will not tarry. Such is the Father's purpose; such is His own promise, "Surely I come quickly."

     III. The three transactions.

     1. The commission. He calls his servants, and assigns them their work, apportioning their gifts and spheres. He deals with them personally and directly. He does not send them to his work at their own charges or in their own strength. It is not a commission to some servants, but to all, to each,-not to ministers only, but to each one who names his name. He gives you a commission when he gives you pardon; He not only says, "I forgive you all your iniquities, go and sin no more"; but, "I forgive you, go and work for me." If we have had any personal dealing with Christ about salvation, we have received this commission.

     2. The judgment. He comes to judge as well as to reign; and his first act is to examine his servants. Have you done my work? Have you made use of my gifts?  I left you to yourselves for awhile, but I am now come to ask an account of your doings.  What have you to shew in the shape of work done for me?  Each is examined according to what he has received, and questioned as to what he has done. None exactly alike. Some more, some less faithful; some wholly unfaithful and unprofitable.

     3. The recompense. All are not only judged, but recompensed; each receiving according to his deeds.

     (1.) The faithful. They receive His "well done," and a glory proportioned to their work.

     (2.) The unfaithful. They are stripped of everything, and cast into outer darkness (Matthew 25).

     (3.) The citizens. These were never servants; always rejectors, enemies, rebels. These are the multitude, who hear of Christ, but yield no obedience, choose another master and another service,-the hosts of Anti-Christ,-the men of the world, the mixed multitude in our churches. They are summoned only to be "slain," destroyed by the breath of His mouth and the brightness of His coming.