Monday, January 29, 2007

Submitting to Jesus' Authority

"But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence" (Luke 19:27, NASB).

In Luke 19 the historian Luke records a parable Jesus used to illustrate the kingdom of God.
11 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.12 He said, "A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.13 Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver,* saying, `Invest this for me while I am gone.'14 But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, `We do not want him to be our king.'
15 "After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were.16 The first servant reported, `Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!'
17 "`Well done!' the king exclaimed. `You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.'
18 "The next servant reported, `Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.'
19 "`Well done!' the king said. `You will be governor over five cities.'
20 "But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, `Master, I hid your money and kept it safe.21 I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn't yours and harvesting crops you didn't plant.'
22 "`You wicked servant!' the king roared. `Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I'm a hard man who takes what isn't mine and harvests crops I didn't plant,23why didn't you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.'
24 "Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, `Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.'
25 "`But, master,' they said, `he already has ten pounds!'
26 "`Yes,' the king replied, `and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.27 And as for these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me'" (Luke 19:11-27; NLT).
Part of this parable is familiar to us. The dividing of the talents and the accounting of what the servants did with their talents. The part got me thinking this morning was verse 27 where the newly established king executes those people who actively worked against the nobleman becoming king.

There are two implications for our lives that are worth considering from this parable. First is our responsibility as servants of Jesus. We are to use the blessings that we have been given to expand God's Kingdom. When we refuse to take risks and to work towards expanding the Kingdom we will be punished.

We need to examine our lives and consider whether or not we are using the blessings God has given us to bless other people. This is at the heart of what Jesus expects of His followers. For when we horde God's blessings, when we refuse to risk what we have been given, we show that we do not care about what God cares about. It is when we risk and use the blessings we have been given that we are most like Jesus and impact the lives of other people.

The second implication is the destiny of the opposition. What condemns these individuals is their refusal to submit to the authority of Jesus. Think about the number of people who are basically "good" people but have yet to give their lives to Jesus. We need to understand that this isn't about morality. People are not condemn to hell because they live immoral lives, but because they refuse to submit to the authority of Jesus.

This is what repentance is all about. Repentance isn't feeling sorry for the evil that we have done, but it is about giving our allegiance to Jesus. No longer do we live based on what we think is right, but we live based on what Jesus tells us is right. We submit to the authority of Jesus and He becomes the ruler of our lives. Have you submitted to the authority of Jesus?

We need to take time to examine our lives and ask the question: Have I allowed Jesus to be king of my life?

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