the parable of the talents – perception

Topic: The Parable of the Talents. Perception. Kingdom> Category: End Times>

Listen to the full sermon.

Perception is how we see things and form an understanding. Each person looks through the eyes of their culture, life experiences and beliefs. Our perception of someone, whether it is true or false, can affect how we respond to that person. 

During Jesus’ life on earth, He revealed the truth. The truth about God the Father, Himself God the Son and the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus also revealed the truth about humanity and spoke light and life into false perceptions and beliefs.  

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry He revealed spiritual truths through stories or parables. Jesus explained what the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God is like, using the culture of the time.

So through the eyes of the culture, Jesus’ disciples, in a private moment asked Jesus, ‘When will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age?’ 

Jesus responded to them in a way they would understand.

the parable of the talents according to matthew

Let us go to the book of the gospel of Jesus according to Matthew. 

Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 

This is the beginning of a parable about the kingdom of heaven on earth–in time now and time future. The disciples’ perception of the kingdom of God was that there would be a restoration of Israel as a ruling nation on earth. 

However through this story of the kingdom of heaven on earth, Jesus is about to reveal to His disciples that their perception or belief of the kingdom of God on earth, is not what is about to take place.

Jesus is speaking truth into His disciple’s false perceptions. That is their misunderstanding or incorrect belief. 

Also for us today, as we surrender our perceptions of what we think the parable means and sit at the feet of the master, we too can receive from Jesus the fullness of His liberating truth. 

Let us look at the details. 

In verse 14 we learn that the kingdom of heaven is like a man travelling to a far country. 

Jesus, who God the Son came from heaven to earth. When He walked the earth as a man, He went about revealing the love of Father God in heaven and His Kingdom on earth. He gave His life as a sacrifice to humanity–defeated death and evil, rose and ascended up into heaven. 

Jesus the king of God’s kingdom, at the time of telling His disciples this parable, is about to go away. He will go back to heaven. For us today that was fulfilled centuries ago when the resurrected Jesus ascended back into heaven.

the right to rule and reign belongs to the king 

After Jesus ascended back into heaven, He left a special gift. His presence, the precious Holy Spirit. With His Spirit working in and through each disciple, God continues His mission here on earth. That is to set humanity free and have an eternity with HIm. It is the Father’s desire that none should perish. So each one who chooses to receive Jesus, receives His eternal life and kingdom upon His return. 

Only God who created, has the right to rule and reign and be worshipped. God, Father, Son and Spirit who created, has the ultimate power and authority over all creation. For in God’s great love, He created out of nothing. 

So the servants depicted in this parable represent all humanity. As God is God over all peoples, even those who reject His right to rule and reign. God is still their creator and still the supreme authority. 

God in His great selfless love blesses, gives and honours others. He is no respecter of persons and continually pours out His great love. In another parable Jesus put it this way. ‘For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’ 

Let us continue in Matthew 25. 

the character of the king

Verse 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

We learn much about God from this verse. As Jesus is ‘like a man travelling to a far country’ we discover that before Jesus ascended back into heaven, He gave to each one according to their own ability. Each one of humanity throughout the ages has at least one gift. As God gives because He so loves. 

God is also considerate and kind. He never gives more than we can manage. God is wise, generous, empowers others and compassionate. 

Let us continue. 

Verses 16-18 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money…

Before the man who went away, that is Jesus, he gave the three in the parable all a seed to sow. That is the initial talent. To one He gave 5, to another He gave 2 and to another He gave one. Remember that Jesus cares about everyone, so He gave only what each one could manage.

It is Jesus who gives the gifts according to the will of our Father. Whatever gifts we are given and whatever is our calling in this life, it is a gift from God. God has given everything of Himself to us. The Father in heaven only gives good gifts and they are no reflection on our own goodness or desires. They reflect the selfless unconditional love and character of God. As each gift given by God is for the benefit of others. 

all three servants in the parable of the talents received

It is clear that in the parable that all 3 servants received at least one gift, each according to their ability. 

We are still living in this time. Jesus is still in heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Having given gifts before He ascended through His Spirit on earth He continues to give gifts, according to the Father’s will. 

Verses 19-21 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

After a long time, the lord of all returned.  Make no mistake Jesus is coming back. As this parable states, Jesus is coming back to settle accounts. He is coming back for all those who are His. For all eternity to be together with Him. Together in His eternal kingdom of light and life, equality and respect, peace and harmony.

Upon returning Jesus will assess what each of His disciples throughout the ages has done with what He has given. Not whether it was good or bad, but whether it was of selfish desires or by His Spirit to the will of the Father. 

It is important we understand that the kingdom of heaven according to this parable is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

it is all about allegiance

That is, who does each servant in the parable choose to give their allegiance to and recognise their right to rule and reign. The servant who received 5 talents, chose to give their allegiance to the man who went away. In this instance it is Jesus, the king of God’s kingdom.

When we receive Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself and His right to rule reign in our life, we are passed from death and judgement. As all gifts given by God are for the benefit of others, our custodianship of what He has given us in this life, does not effect our inheritance. Every disciple of Jesus receives all of God and His kingdom. 

For God to produce eternal fruit in our lives we simply surrender back to God what He has given, knowing that it all His. As we are transformed by Him, out of His love in us, He produces much eternal fruit in us and through us. For that is His will. 

So to the servant who was given 5 talents, God provided a 100% increase. 

Verse 22-23 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

The servant who was given 2 talents by God, like the one who was given 5, invested the gifts and gave back to his lord.  

Both the servant who was given 2 talents and the servant given 5 talents, gave back to God and God  provided both the same 100% increase. 

true allegiances revealed

These two were disciples of Jesus. They had received the King of God’s kingdom and His right to rule and reign in their lives. They knew every gift given to them was from God. 

God gives good gifts to all because He so loves. All for the benefit of others. 

The two servants in the parable acknowledged that their lord had given them the gifts and they gave them back. 

Their lord returned and acknowledged them as His own. Jesus will return and acknowledge each one throughout the ages who has said yes to Him, yes to God. 

Every disciple of Jesus will hear Him say, ‘Well done good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things, enter into the joy of the Lord.’ Having said yes to Jesus, yes to God, we have been faithful giving our allegiance to Him, worshipping only Him. 

Now let us read what the servant who was given 1 talent said.

Verses 24-25 ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.

The servant knowingly falsely accused the lord. He had a negative perception based upon a lie. The servant chose to believe the lie. He was given the gift by the lord before he went away. We read that in verse 15. Right at the very beginning the servant received 1 gift. So there was no way the servant could accuse the lord of not reaping where He has not sown. 

the king gives the talents

Jesus gave all of Himself in His sacrifice of becoming human. He lived, died, rose and ascended on high. He scattered the seed of the truth and gives gifts according to the Father’s will. 

God provides everything including the seed to sow and He multiplies. 

Yet this servant chose to reject the King, reject Jesus. In rejecting the King and His right to nurse and reign he cannot enter into God’s Kingdom. As a result the servant that was given 1 talent comes under judgement.

Verse 26-27 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

So the lord exposes the deceptions and the lies of the servant who was given 1 talent. If the servant actually really believed what they accused the lord of, in fear they would of surrendered the talent. But they did not. 

It is clear the servant who was given the 1 talent rejected the king and His right to rule and reign. He was not a disciple of Jesus and therefore was cast into outer darkness. 

Verse 28-30 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

the choice is simple

Choose to reject Jesus’ and His right to rule and reign. To reject Jesus is to reject God and the only pathway to salvation. Having rejected Jesus, on that day when He returns, come under immediate judgement. Being cast into outer darkness. 

Or choose to receive Jesus’ and His right to rule and reign. To receive Jesus is to receive God. On that day when Jesus returns we will hear His words, ‘well done good and faithful servant.’


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