277 – Parable of the Talents – Introduction
The so-called “parable of the Talents” is recorded in Matthew 25:14-30. Before we get to the parable, I think it’s essential to understand how Jesus used parables. Do you remember the “parable of the Soils”?
Matthew 13:3 (NKJV)
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Jesus tells the parable, then His disciples asked Him a question in verse 10, and Jesus provides the answer in verses 11-17.
Matthew 13:11 (NKJV)
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
I hope you’ll read the whole section, but for now, skip down to verse 15 with me.
Matthew 13:15 (NKJV)
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
Jesus spoke in parables to hide what He was saying from those who had closed their eyes to the truth.
So what about the parable of the Talents? Was Jesus talking to people who had stopped up their own ears and blinded their own eyes to the truth He was declaring? I don’t think so. It seems to me the encounter was between Him and His disciples.
In the interest of context, I believe it’s important to consider chapter twenty-four when looking into the parables of chapter twenty-five. In Matthew 24:1-2 Jesus and the disciples have a discussion where Jesus prophecies to them the destruction of the temple. Look at the very next verse.
Matthew 24:3 (NKJV)
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Clearly, the ensuing discussion is solely between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus starts His discourse with plain talk – very clear and direct teaching with no parables. Then He begins using figures of speech in Matthew 24:27 (lightning, eagles/carcass). Next, come the parables. There is no break in the narrative to tell us the setting has changed. It’s still just Jesus and His disciples by the time we get to the parable of the Talents.
I don’t think Jesus was using a parable to hide the truth from the disciples. Just the opposite is true. I believe Jesus used the parables in Matthew twenty-five to help His disciples understand and digest what He was telling them.
A defining characteristic of the parables in Matthew twenty-five is the phrase the kingdom of heaven is like…
If we are to understand the parables in Matthew twenty-five we must understand to what “the kingdom of heaven” is referring.
Yahweh willing, this is where we will pick up next time. In the meantime, I hope you will read Matthew 24-25. Spend some time thinking about the passage.
God is so, so, very good! He and He alone is worthy of all our praise, worship, and adoration.