November 22, 2023 –
After He had said this, He proceeded on His journey up to Jerusalem.
Those who think of Jesus as a “teddy bear” are challenged by the last words of Jesus in today’s Gospel Passage. These concluding words—“…as for those enemies of mine… bring them here and slay them before me”—conclude the parable which the evangelist prefaces by explaining Jesus’ motive: He “proceeded to tell a parable because He was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately.”
The “king” speaks and acts harshly. He refers to himself as “a demanding man”, but his greatest demand comes at the end of the parable. Of his enemies he declares, “bring them here and slay them before me.” The question we have to grapple with is this: to whom does this character in the parable refer in real life? Can he possibly symbolize Jesus or God the Father? The king’s demand is reminiscent of practices found in the Old Testament. God Himself seems there to demand the murder of innocents. Surely such ideas have no place in the teaching of Jesus?
However, the parable’s own inner logic suggests that the servants did have a choice. This points to the choice that each servant of God has to follow Him or not. At the end of each person’s life is a fork. One branch leads to eternal life and the other to eternal death. This is where the Kingdom of God comes to its fulfillment.