In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus told the story of a ruler who traveled to a distant land to receive a crown before returning to his homeland as king. Part of what we could easily miss from this story is the historical precedent that Jesus’ original audience would have remembered clearly. Jesus built this story out of real events.
After having served as governor of Galilee, Herod the Great traveled to Rome around 40 B.C. to be crowned King of Judea. He still had to return to Judea and take his kingdom by force by putting down a revolt, but the Roman Senate granted Herod a crown and the authority to rule. In 4 B.C. Herod Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, made the same journey to receive a crown. Archelaus was very unpopular at the time; so, Rome made him an ethnarch rather than a king. This means he had less authority and a less significant mandate to rule than a king would have.
The Herods were known as demanding rulers who maintained strict systems of accountability within their domain. Failing to use resources wisely would have brought severe penalties. The implications for the accountability of all to Jesus’ authority and his expectations of faithfulness are as clear today as they were when he first told the story.
On my mind recently has been the reality that Jesus trusts each of uswith gifts, abilities, opportunities, and resources. We are responsible for what he’s given us and are accountable to him for our faithfulness with his gifts. What is it that Jesus has entrusted to you? How will you grow in your faithfulness to him?
Pursuing faithfulness together,