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Volume 7 - Page 51 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
The Talents (Matt. 25: 14-30).
The last recorded parable of the Gospel of Matthew deals with reward or loss
consequent upon service rendered to an absent Lord.
The parable opens much like the Sower, for in each case the formula, "The kingdom
of the heavens is like unto," is omitted. The first parable (for parable it is, see 13: 18),
starts with the words, "Behold the Sower went forth to sow"; the last with the words,
"For as a man travelling into a far country". Both parables speak of results. There is the
ground that produces no fruit, and the ground that does. Then again the fruitfulness
varies, some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, some an hundred-fold; this is exactly echoed in
the parable before us. There is the unprofitable servant, there are the profitable ones.
Their profitableness, though similar in ratio, is nevertheless different in amount, one
produces five talents, the other two.
There is another comparison which we must remember. On page 43 of Volume 4:
& 5: is set out the structure of this second set of parables which commences with
18: 23-35, the wicked servant, and introduces the word sunairő, "to reckon",
which occurs nowhere else except in the last parable of Matthew, which is the one at
present under notice. This set of parables is bounded by the idea of a reckoning with
servants, and comes in that section of Matthew where the public ministry of Christ
becomes less and the private ministry more prominent. Moreover, in both parables there
is a reference to "talents".
The parable of the talents divides itself into three sections, the nobleman's prospective
going, his absence, and return. Each action of the nobleman has a bearing upon his
servants; to them in the first place the goods are delivered, in the second they trade with
the goods or otherwise, and in the third they are rewarded or punished accordingly. This
will be seen clearly if set out as follows:--
Matt. 25: 14-30.
A1 | 14. The journey contemplated.
B1 | 15-. The delivery of the goods to the servants.
A2 | -15. The departure.
B2 | 16-18. The use of the goods by the servants.
A3 | 19. The return and the reckoning.
B3 | 20-30. The reward or punishment of the servants.
It will be observed that the period of service is during the Lord's absence. The
commission is given just before his departure, and the reward is given upon his return.
At the close of each of the four Gospels, the soon departing Lord gives various
commissions to His disciples. John shows in the difference between the ministry given to