Matthew 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Talents—Overview)

Recall that upon forsaking the temple to the religious leaders who would not have His Spirit fill it, Jesus predicted that the time would come when not one stone would be left upon another.  Not wishing to be swept away in that forthcoming destruction, His disciples on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple mount have asked Him when such things would take place, and what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age.  Summarizing the signs He gave in Mat 24:4-41, Jesus warned that His followers must “be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Mat 24:42), and then expounds upon this summary with the parables of the thief, the faithful and unfaithful servants, the ten virgins, and now the parable of the talents, before closing His discourse with the parable of the sheep and the goats.  What does this context and the immediately preceding verse remind us about to whom the parable is primarily directed?  See Mat 25:13.

Whereas the parable of the ten virgins emphasized the importance of keeping watch and not falling asleep, as in the parable of the thief (Mat 24:43-44), what does the parable of the talents emphasize about what it means to be alert and keep watch?  How is this like the parable in Mat 24:45-51 of the faithful and unfaithful servants that also emphasized the importance of being a faithful steward of what has been entrusted to us?  Whereas that parable emphasized faithfulness within the household or kingdom of God, how does the parable of the talents emphasize faithfulness that extends beyond and expands the household or kingdom of God?  What does this remind us about the purpose of our redemption, and that we are not our own, but have been bought with a price and called out of our bondage in Egypt to serve God?  Cf. Exo 8:1,20, 9:1,13, 10:3, 1Co 6:20.  In what way is the blessing of the faithful servants in the parable of the talents similar to the blessing of the faithful slave in Mat 24:46-47?  See Mat 25:21,23.  In what way is the judgment pronounced upon the unfaithful servant in the parable of the talents similar to the judgment pronounced upon the unfaithful slave in Mat 24:50-51?  See Mat 25:26-30.  How many times does God have to say something for it to be important?  If He repeats it, repeatedly, especially in the same context to emphasize its importance, how important must it be?  Cf. Heb 12:25.  How is that importance related to the very purpose for which the disciples were asking for a sign of Christ’s coming lest they be swept away in the destruction of His enemies?

Notice that Jesus begins the parable, “For it is just like a man going on a journey…”  What is just like a man going on a journey?  See Mat 25:1, and cf. the KJV that supplies the kingdom of heaven to fill the ellipsis.  What does this again remind us about the kingdom of heaven being much more than just a nod to a gospel message and a vague hope of an ethereal heaven?  Is not Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of heaven about the manifestation of that kingdom here and now?  See Mat 3:2, 4:17, 10:7, Luk 17:20-21.  Is it not about that kingdom coming, and God’s will being done on earth, as it is in heaven, and our lives on earth being a part of that kingdom because we have been purchased from among men to be a part of it?  Cf. Mat 6:9-10, Tit 2:11-12.

In the parable, who does the man represent who was about to go on a journey and entrusted his possessions to his slaves or servants?  Who do the slaves or servants represent?  What is the significance that they are referred to as his own slaves?  Cf. Luk 12:13-14, Joh 18:36, 1Co 5:12.  To whom does this again remind us that the parable is primarily addressed?  Where exactly was Christ about to go?  See Joh 7:33, 14:2-3,12,28, 16:5,28; cf. Mar 16:19, Act 5:30-31, Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1.  Until when would He be gone?  See Act 3:19-21, Heb 1:13, 10:12-13.  By what means are the Lord’s enemies made a footstool for His feet?  See Act 2:33-35.  What does this again indicate about a part we have in establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth for which we have been redeemed?  As we have seen in our study of the Olivet Discourse, the coming of Christ’s kingdom is a manifestation of the truth that like a winnowing fork sifts the hearts of men as they choose either to embrace and walk in the light of that truth and so be gathered as choice and good fruit into the Lord’s barn, or to harden their hearts against the truth and so be gathered as chaff or tares into bundles to be burned (cf. Mat 3:12); how does this help us to understand what the possessions are that the Man entrusted to his slaves?  See Mat 24:35, Col 2:3, Pro 8:11,18-21.  How are we to use those treasures in accordance with His will to expand the holdings of His kingdom?  cf. Mat 28:18-20, 23:34-35, 24:14, Mar 3:14, 6:12, Act 8:5, 9:20, 10:42, 28:31, etc…