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.
(Luke 19:11 ESV)
(Luke 19:11 ESV)
Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἰερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἀναφαίνεσθαι.
This is the transitional statement that links the Zacchaeus story with the Parable of the Minas (Lukan version of the Parable of the Talents). Truthfully, for the modern reader, this is an ambiguous statement. We are given two reasons for the telling of the parable: 1) Jesus is near Jerusalem, and 2) Jesus’ audience thought, because of the Zacchaeus incident, that “the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. Yet, it seems by the telling of the parable that the kingdom has not arrived, nor will it arrive soon. Scholars typically deal with two options for interpreting the Minas Parable. First, in Matthew, the parable is told next to the bridesmaids, suggesting that the parable exhorts the listeners to wait vigilantly for the return of the master. But we do not have this context in Luke.
Another option for the interpretation of the parable is that Jesus tells it as evidence that the kingdom of God is not about to appear. In other words, Jesus tells this parable against the master, against the nobleman who wants to be king (19.12). The exploitation of the nobleman is evidence that the kingdom of God has not arrived, nor will it arrive soon.
Yet, I am curious, if there is a more complex answer, for when the people expect the nearness of the kingdom of God, Jesus tells a parable about the proximity of a different type of kingdom. And in Luke’s version of the parable, the third servant is not condemned, but those who defy the king are (19. 14, 27). There is a conflict over the kingdom and to whom it belongs, and it is not clear which is the good side. Perhaps, the parable suggests that the “war” for the kingdom is on. Thoughts?