“He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” (Luke 19:22-27 NASB)
Why is it that we seem to forget the Bible, the whole Bible, prophets and all? Why we do we find it so easy to create this cardboard version of Jesus who is so two dimensional? Why do we forget that He came to fulfill the law not abolish it? Why is it so easy to forget that He came to divide not unify humanity? The truth of Scripture is that Jesus is God, not a god, not some new god, and certainly not “God Transformed”. He is God!
God, the One putting up with Israel’s wayward ways for 400 years while He sends prophets, is the One wiping them out with the pagan empire of Assyria. And then, a hundred years later, Judah goes down by the pagan Babylonians. Flash forward 400 more years, and Jesus becomes the same One pronouncing woes of judgement on Galilean cities and Jerusalem itself. It’s as if the judgement of old was returning again, this time at His say so.
And then we have this parable. Luke seems to intertwine a parable of a king, possibly using the ascension of Herod’s son Archaleus, with the parable of slaves use of money. The point of the slaves with money is being enterprising with the resources God provides us until He returns. The point of the king ascending a throne is opposing him does not go unpunished.
If Jesus is the king and master of the servants, then this picture of Jesus ought to make us uneasy. Then we are to be responsible with what has been entrusted to us while He is away, making more of what was given. Being industrious is rewarded, not doing anything with it is punished. We have to agree to be ruled, to submit to the reign of Jesus over us. That means agree to who He is not who we imagine Him to be.
And this isn’t meant to take away the love Jesus has for us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus any more before His throne than it can now, or could before He ministered in person. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But that doesn’t then change the personality of God into something other than what we read elsewhere in Scripture. It’s both. And that’s probably where we fail most often to our greatest detriment.
God did not have a personality break between the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. He didn’t switch from wrath and anger to mercy and love. He has always been all of that and more. There has always been vast oceans of grace in the Hebrew Scriptures. There has always been wrath in the Christian Scriptures. So our challenge is read both and let God define for Himself who He is and how He will relate to us. It’s tough, and it should be frightening to us. But then again, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom after all.
So, what do you see through your knothole this morning? I hope I didn’t bring you down, but I do hope I sobered you up! You may need sobering after last night…but that’s fodder for another post.