The Judgment of the Wicked Servant

15 Mar
Judgment - 4

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Luke 19:22 tells us that the nobleman judged the wicked servant out of his own words. If the man really feared (G5399) the nobleman (Jesus), he should have acted differently than he did. The Greek word (G5399) has both a positive and a negative side. It can be defined as a healthy respect for someone or outright terror of another man. The wicked servant in the parable didn’t have a healthy respect for the nobleman. Therefore, he must have been afraid (the negative kind of fear) of him. Why, then, didn’t his terror (G5399) of the nobleman cause the wicked servant to be faithful, while the nobleman was away?

It seems to me that the fear the man had was the same kind of fear Israel had of God (Exodus 20:19-20). It exists only in the perceived presence of the one who is feared. In the nobleman’s absence the wicked servant simply had no fear or respect for him. On the other hand, a healthy respect for the man is perceived in the behavior of the other two servants, whether or not the nobleman was present to demand it.

The nobleman claimed that, if the man feared him, because he thought the nobleman was a harsh man, he should have placed the mina in the bank. Chief tax-collectors often acted as local banks, whereby loans were let out at a fixed interest rate, and money was received at a smaller interest rate paid to the depositor. In this way the man’s mina could have been used by another of the nobleman’s servants. Thereby, the wicked servant’s mina would not only have accrued interest in the man’s account, but the banker (also one of the nobleman’s servants) could have invested the wicked man’s mina, as should have been done in the first place.

Some folks believe that usury was forbidden under the Law, but this isn’t true. It was forbidden to loan money out to the poor for interest (cf. Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36; Deuteronomy 23:19; cf. Deuteronomy 23:20), but business loans could be offered for a proper interest rate. Banks were able to loan money out for interest and collect fees, while acting as money-changers.

Money produces more money, because like produces like. So, too, something offered in faith (viz. the Gospel) could be received in faith. Thus, a person’ faith is able to produce faith in another man, bringing one more person to embrace Jesus (the nobleman in the parable) as Messiah. Similarly, a group of people (a local church body of believers) could invest in the labor of a gifted evangelist (viz. financially support him) and thereby enter into his works, which should bring in greater numbers of people to embrace Jesus as Lord, than an ordinary believer has opportunity to do.

The nobleman demanded that the servant’s mina be taken away from him and given to the servant who had gained ten minas (Luke 19:24-25). In other words, since the man never used his mina (faith), he doesn’t have any experience in producing kind after kind for Jesus. He has no experience in using his faith to produce faith in another man. On the contrary, he had thus far wasted his life, as far as being fruitful for the Kingdom of God is concerned. Certainly, this man made some terrible choices in his life that led to his poor standing at the return of the nobleman, but wouldn’t our Savior, Jesus, have mercy on someone such as this?

It seems to me that his judgment is not to destroy him but to build him up in faith, like folks who don’t know Jesus are built up, once they received him as Savior. We know this man did receive Jesus as his Savior, otherwise he wouldn’t have been given a mina / faith in the first place. Jesus treated him as one of his servants, so I think we should too.


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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in Gospel of Luke


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