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This divided world

(A) Zacchaeus (Chief taxation contractor, Jericho, AD 30) stood and said to the Lord (Jesus Christ), “Look, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (B) As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, (C) “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling (Ca) ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in things until I come.’ But (Cb) his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ (D) When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ (E) And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ (F) Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a shroud; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ (Ha) And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. (Hb) But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and accordingly slaughter them before me.’ ” Luke 19: 8-27
 
In (A) above we have a successful and wealthy man – but a man who was a sinner. It is to save men like him that Jesus came into the world. He was truly saved (from himself more than anything) because his response to Jesus was confirmed by his gift of half his wealth to the poor and his repayment, four fold, of all monies he had wrongly extracted from others. Truly saved.

In (B) above Jesus decides to explain, through a parable, exactly what he perceives to be the key issue dividing people from one another in the period before he returns. The parable is a parallel.

In (C) above the “nobleman” has two totally distinct divisions to deal with during his absence from this world. First, (Ca) there are his servants to whom he gives one “mina” each. A “mina” was a fixed amount of weight or money. Second, (Cb) there are his citizens – none of these have a mina between them. In fact (Cb) these hate the nobleman. Both groups await the nobleman’s return. Those with a mina are to engage with the citizens.

 
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‘Every life without Christ is a mission field; every life with Christ is a missionary.’ (Anon.)
In (D) above, the nobleman, having returned, calls the first servant who has been faithful and whose mina has gained ten more. In (E) the second faithful servant reports that his mina has gained five more.  In (F) the third servant had hidden his mina – it has lain dormant, shrouded. Each servant receives, from the returned nobleman, the consequences of all of his past.

In (Ha) we learn that the servant who did not engage with others with his/her mina loses even that mina. But those who did so engage (like the “truly saved” Zacchaeus in (A) above) are wonderfully blessed in the new kingdom which the nobleman brings with him.  They are blessed not only according to their work but also according to the magnificent generosity of the nobleman.

 
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'The problem is not that there is insufficient evidence to convince rational beings that there is a God, but that natural beings have a natural hostility towards God.’ (R C Sproul, author and pastor)
In (Hb) we hear of the outcome for those identified in (Cb) – the citizens who hated the nobleman at the outset and who still do not want him to reign over them. These are those with whom the servants (Ca) with their minas have engaged - but they have not received a mina for themselves through those engagements. Each receives the appropriate consequences.

This divided world. Not divided between the rich and the poor. Not divided between the able and the unable. Not divided between the good and the bad. Oh, no. Divided by heart attitude towards the true “nobleman”.

 
Sinner Syvret

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