January 25, 2022
For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey (Matthew 25:14-15).
In the Parable of the Talents, the kingdom of heaven is God’s reign in the lives of people and on earth. The man traveling to a far country is Jesus Christ. His ascension to heaven is the far country to which He has traveled. His own servants are His disciples then and now - those who have made a commitment to follow Him. Talents can mean a unit of weight, a sum of money, or a person’s ability. In this parable it refers to a sum of money. Today it would refer to the resources Christ has given to professed Christians.
In this parable, and in The Parable of the 10 Virgins, the 5 foolish virgins and the 1 foolish servant are those who profess to know Jesus. They are not true Christians. They would be comparable to Judas Iscariot among the 12 disciples and many false believers in the church today. Jesus said, Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).
In this parable the master gave each servant a different number of talents according to his own ability. This means the master knew his servants well and entrusted to them what he knew they would invest wisely or foolishly. This is consistent with the Lord in His ministry. From the multitudes that followed Him, Jesus chose 12 to be with Him and trained by Him. Among the 12 disciples there were 3 that He gave particular attention to in training for ministry - Peter, James, and John. The others were valuable to the Lord - even Judas Iscariot. But Peter, James, and John were especially selected to serve the Lord in very special ways after His ascension. Peter became the Apostle to the Gentiles. James became the first Christian martyr. His brother John became the last living Apostle and the author of the Gospel of John, the books 1,2,3 John, and Revelations.
The focus of this parable, and of The Parable of the 10 Virgins, is on those who profess to be followers of Jesus but are not true followers of Jesus. The foolish servant did not invest his master’s resources wisely. Why? Because he really didn’t know his master or have his master’s best interests at heart. That has been the tragedy throughout Christian history. Multitudes of people have been saved and brought into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ through His church. Multitudes have also been in His church who were not brought into His Kingdom. They were, and are false believers - those who are Christian in name only and do not know the Lord of the church. Peter said (2 Peter 1:10), Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. Amen.