Luke 19: 11-27
A survey carried out by the BBC and reported on this morning’s news has suggested ‘a quarter of people who describe themselves as Christians in Great Britain do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus.’ Furthermore, ‘exactly half of all people surveyed did not believe in the resurrection at all.’ This brings to mind Romans 10:9
‘Occupy till I come.’ On the authority of the Word of God, if Christ is was not raised from the dead then there is no life. Some people can take a bit of the Bible and not accept it. You cannot do any work for the Lord Jesus Christ if you don’t believe in the Bible. You can’t be a Christian if you believe in only parts of the Bible. The Word of God is living. If you know Christ, you are indwelled by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus said to Philip, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seem me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?’ (John 14:9).
In the parable in these verses the nobleman, before travelling to a far country, ‘called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy till I come.’ (Luke 19:13). The number 10 in the Bible speaks of God’s authority. ‘I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.’ (Isaiah 45:5). This is the God we serve. Not even Satan in all his power can do anything to you without God allowing it.
“Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13) Are you occupied? Are you looking forward to the Lord Jesus Christ, to seeing Him, to His coming? In the very last prayer in the Bible we read, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ (Revelation 22:20). When Paul introduces the remembrance of the Lord we again read, ‘For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.’ (1 Corinthians 11:26). He is coming! Whether we are looking forward to it or not, He will come to receive us to Himself. He has redeemed us, not for this world, but for Him. Wonderful! We shall be like Him forever. Pray the reality of His coming will take us away from our circumstances. The cry of our heart should be, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ (Revelation 22:20).
‘Occupy’ is not a passive word, it is active. We are doing something for Him. In this parable the nobleman chose ten servants. He gave them a £1 each and said, ‘Go and do something with it.’ Nine of them used their initiative, one of them did not. One of them thought, ‘There’s a risk. Let me weigh up the master’s character – he’s an austere man.’ Are you frightened of your Saviour? If so, you don’t know Him. The servant wrapped up the coin he had been given and put it away, making sure no-one touched it. In the past many kept the Bible under lock and key so the masses could not read it. So often we keep the Word of God under lock and key.
What has Christ done to your soul? He has saved it by grace – not because of anything you and I deserve – it’s for His glory. He saved us because He loves us, He bore our punishment and redeemed us. Now He wants us to do something for Him – to occupy till He comes.
The Lord gave the ten people in this parable something to do. He had redeemed them and brought them into newness of life. He gave them something and wanted them to do something for Him. Occupy. Do we take an interest in the Word of God? If Christ has done something in your heart you should be able to say, ‘I love the Lord Jesus.’ So many of us are like the last servant, we wrap up the Word of God and blend into this world. There was a time when Peter blended into the people, when he denied the Lord. So often we just want to blend into the world, we don’t want to be different. If you say, ‘I can’t testify for the Lord,’ you don’t know the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is there to give you the words. If you love Him, don’t wrap Him up. The Spirit of God gives you the liberty to tell others about Jesus Christ.
The Lord says to this servant that he was one of his. He wasn’t lost. Which of the servants are you like? If you want to be like the first servant, pray. So many of us are like the last servant – we don’t want to stand out, we’re not occupied. The Lord used the servant’s own words to condemn that man. ‘And he saith unto him, “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an autere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?”’ (Luke 19: 22-23) (ursury – interest).
When the Lord sends us into His vineyard, He sends us where He has already sown, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.’ (John 4:35). We are to reap. We just need to open our mouths and say, ‘Jesus loves you.’
Christ has gone out of His way for you. He gave His life for you. What are you going to give Him? What are you doing to tell others that Jesus saves? What are you doing to save them from hell? He says ‘Occupy till I come.’
The servant lost the joy of his salvation. When we miss opportunities we lose something of this joy. Psalm 51 was a psalm written by David after he had committed the sin of sending Uriah into battle, after sleeping with Uriah’s wife. The Lord was angry with David. David cried, ‘Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.’ (Psalm 51:12). This man had lost something of the joy of his salvation. We are told in Philippians 4:4, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ If we’re not rejoicing in the Lord we will struggle to tell others about Jesus. We are not living in the blessings that He’s bestowed upon us. Jesus doesn’t want us to lose the joy of salvation. Hopefully, the last servant went away realising what he had done so he might enjoy the blessings and bounty of Christ. The Lord gave equally to all His servants. When we get to glory we will all be equal. Those who are barely saved are brought in. His grace has saved us and He will never take away that salvation. If the Lord gives us a testimony and we don’t use it He will take it away and give it to someone else, He takes away and gives to those who will make use of it, not someone who will hide it. The joy and testimony will diminish – but Salvation remains. The challenge is ‘What are we doing with the £1?’ What are we doing with what God has put in our hearts?