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A Reflection on Perhaps the "Meanest" and Most Shocking Thing Jesus Ever Said

November 18, 2014

The Gospel from today’s Mass (Wed. of the 33rd Week – Luke 19:11-27) is known as the “Parable of the Ten Gold Coins.” It is similar to Matthew’s “Parable of the Talents” from Sunday, but with certain significant differences and an ending so shocking that, when I read it at daily Mass some years ago, a young child said audibly to her mother, “Wow, that’s mean!”

I’d like to take a look at it and ponder its shocking ending.

As I said, the parable is similar to the “Parable of the Talents” except that in this parable, ten people each receive one gold coin. Despite the fact that there are ten people, we only hear the reports of three of them (as in the Matthean account), two who show a profit and one who shows an angry and disdainful lack of profit.

Another significant difference is the weaving of another parable (let’s call it the “Parable of the Rejected King”) into the story. Briefly stated, here are the lines of the parable, along with its shocking ending:

A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, “We do not want this man to be our king.” But when he returned after obtaining the kingship … [He said] “Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me” (Luke 19:12,14, 27-28).

In analyzing a text like this I must say that I was disappointed at the silence of most commentaries. The shocking verse “slay them before me” goes largely unremarked.

The Fathers seem to say little (though perhaps you will correct me). I did find two references in the Catena Aurea. Augustine says of this verse, Whereby He describes the ungodliness of the Jews who refused to be converted to Him. And Theophilus adds, Whom he will deliver to death, casting them into the outer fire. But even in this world they were most miserably slain by the Roman army.

Hence both Fathers take the verse at face value and even declare it to be historically fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Josephus indicates in his work that 1.2 million Jews were killed in that dreadful war.

I must say, however, historically fulfilled or not, the triumphal and vengeful tone of Jesus still puzzles me. For if this verse does refer to the destruction of 70 AD, how do we account for Jesus’ tone here when just verses later He weeps over Jerusalem?

As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Lk 19:41-44).

Certainly a variety of emotions can sweep over even the God-man Jesus, but let me also suggest some other contextual and cultural considerations that frame Jesus’ startling and “mean” words, Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.

1. Jesus is speaking in the prophetic tradition – Prophets spoke this way, using startling and often biting imagery and characterizations. Though many today have tried to tame and domesticate Jesus, the real Jesus spoke vividly, in the prophetic tradition. He often used shocking and paradoxical images. He spoke bluntly, as prophets do, calling his hostile interlocutors hypocrites, vipers, children of the devil, whitewashed tombs, evil, foolish, blind guides, and the sons of those who murdered the prophets. He warns them that they will be sentenced to Hell unless they repent, and lays them out for their inconsistency and hardness of heart. This is what prophets do; they speak in this manner.

So, in speaking “mean” like this, Jesus is firmly in the tradition of the prophets, who spoke in a similar manner. Thus, in understanding the words of Jesus that we are considering (“slay them in my presence”) we cannot overlook the prophetic context. His words, which seem to us angry and even vengeful, are expected in the prophetic tradition from which He speaks; they are intentionally shocking. Their purpose is to provoke a response.

Prophets used hyperbole and shock to convey and frame their call to repentance. And while we ought not simply dismiss Jesus’ words as exaggeration, we should not fail to see them in the traditional context of prophetic speach.

Hence they may not, in fact,  portray an attitude of vengeance personally in Jesus’ heart but are to be understood as prophecy toward those who refuse to repent. They will die in their sins. And their refusal to reconcile with God and their neighbors (in this case the Romans) will indeed lead to a terrible war wherein they will be slain, dying horribly.

2. The Jewish culture and language often used hyperbole – Even beyond the prophetic tradition, the ancient Jews often used all-or-nothing language in their manner of speech. Although I am no Hebrew scholar, I have been taught that the Hebrew Language contains far fewer comparative words than does English or many other languages. Comparative words are words such as more, less, greater, fewer, most, especially, and so forth. Hence, if an ancient Jew were asked if he liked chocolate or vanilla ice cream more, he would say something like “I like chocolate and hate vanilla.” And by this he really means “I like chocolate more.” Thus, we see that Jesus says elsewhere that we must love Him and hate our parents, spouse, and children (e.g., Lk 14:26). He does not mean that we should hate them vengefully. Rather, this is a Jewish way of saying that we must love Him more and the most.

This background explains the ancient Jewish tendency to speak in hyperbole (exaggeration) and to often couch things in all-or-nothing terms. It is not that they did not comprehend nuances; they just did not speak in that manner, instead allowing the context to supply that “hate” does not mean literal hate, etc.

This linguistic background helps explain how the more extremist elements of prophetic language take shape.

We ought to be careful, however, not to simply dismiss things as hyperbole. We in the modern West who speak English may love that our language has greater nuance. But sometimes we are so nuanced that we say little. At some point we must say either yes or no; we must be with God or against Him. In the end, even if purgatory intervenes, there is only Heaven or Hell.

The ancient Jewish way of speaking in a rather all-or-nothing manner is not primitive per se, and it has a refreshing and honest way of insisting that we decide for or against God, that we decide what is right and what is just.

Thus, though Jesus words are harsh (part of the Hebraic way of speaking), they DO call the question. For either we choose God and live, or we choose sin and die spiritually. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Roma 6:23).

3. Jesus is speaking to hardened sinners – The audience here is important as well.  As Jesus draws near to Jerusalem He is entering hostile territory. The sinners and unbelievers He encounters are very rigid and have hardened their hearts against Him. Hence, Jesus’ words must be understood as strong medicine.

One can imagine a doctor saying to a stubborn patient, “If you do not change your ways, you will die soon and I’ll see you at your funeral.” While some may consider this a poor “bedside manner,” there are some patients for whom such language is necessary and appropriate.

Jesus is dealing with hardened sinners here and so He speaks bluntly. They are headed for death and Hell and He tells them so.

Perhaps we, who live in these “dainty” times and are so easily offended and so afraid of giving offense, could learn from such an approach. There are some who just need to hear from priests, parents, and others, “If you do not change your ways, I do not see how you can avoid being sentenced to Hell.”

4. A final thought, a theory really, that some have advanced – According to this theory, Jesus is referring to an actual historical incident and using it to disabuse His listeners of their fond thoughts of a new king. After the death of Herod the Great, Archelaus, his son, went to Rome to receive the title of king. A group of Jews also appeared in Rome before Caesar Augustus and opposed the request of Archelaus. Although not given the title of king, Archelaus was made ruler over Judea and Samaria, and later had those Jews who opposed him killed.

Kings are often despots – Since many Jews thought the Messiah (when he came) would be a king, some were hoping that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to take up the role of an earthly king. According to this theory, since the people pined for a king, Jesus uses this fearsome parable and reminder that earthly kings are usually despotic. Jesus is thus trying to disabuse them of the notion that He or anyone else should be their earthly king.

While this theory has a lot to recommend it, especially historical precedent, it seems unlikely that the Gospel text would use such an historically localized event to make such a narrow point. Jesus is not just speaking to the people of that time and place; He is also speaking to us. Hence, even if this explanation may have partial historical context, the meaning would also need to extend beyond one incident in the ancient past.

Well, there you have it. I am interested in your thoughts as well. Since the commentaries I consulted seemed rather silent, perhaps you have read commentaries worth sharing. Likewise, perhaps you know of some other quotes of the Fathers I could not find.

Is Jesus being mean here? No. Is He being blunt and painfully clear? Yes. And frankly some of us need it. In these thin-skinned times we may bristle at such talk, but that’s our problem. Good, refreshing honesty and a clear diagnosis are far more important than our precious feelings.

And here’s Jesus in prophetic mode—no compromises.

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Comments (35)

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  1. JohnR says:

    Yes, I heard this gospel this morning and I must confess that I had never before registered it as being scriptural. I do see that some would indeed bristle at the words “Execute them before me” and I can indeed see why the explanation that this was an account of an actual event has a good deal of plausibility. I have heard it said that the story of the Good Samaritan also is the presentation of an actual historical event and that indeed there was only one Inn on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Hence one can now point out that Inn. Therefore it does make sense to me that a group which did not want a particular man to be their king would indeed feel his wrath after his appointment as king. It is what used to happen. In these benighted times we are seeing enemies being beheaded by their conquerors as ISIL murderers do with their prisoners. The Geneva Convention is a 20th Century invention!

    • Tess says:

      JESUS IS NOT AT ALL MEAN.

      HE IS TRUTH AND TELLING US THAT HIS ENEMIES WHO FOLLOW HIS ADVERSARY WILL BE SLAIN. HE HAS ALWAYS WARNED THIS. HE WILL GIVE US AMPLE TIME TO RUN TO HIM AND HIS MERCY IS RICH….HOWEVER THOSE WHO SCORN AND REJECT HIM WILL REGRET IT.
      THAT IS WHY HE NEEDS HIS FOLLOWERS TO PRAY SO MUCH FOR THOSE SOULS.

  2. Candida Bohnne Eittreim says:

    We perceive anything that smacks of truth as brutal, unkind, mean spirited and harsh.The Christ did not come to placate or soften His truth. i rather think He was being Himself and was brutally painfully honest. Faced with the intransigence and rejection of His children, He may have indeed looked for the day of judgement. Who could blame Him? If folks think He was being mean-good! Keep pushing Him and you WILL discover that shocking though it may be, Christ is and never was some hip simpering emo wimp. You just may recall Sodom and Gomorrah? The decimation of there Promised Land, clearing it of trash, so His children could dwell there?

  3. Jennifer says:

    This is so timely.
    Just today I was given a thorough “trolling” online in a “conversation” regarding the wages of sin.
    We state the Truth, and we do it with love, and we are seen as un-Christian, because we aren’t being “loving” when we don’t accept behavior that leads to spiritual death.
    Jesus love for us doesn’t allow us to hide behind “tolerance”. He told us that the Truth would be rejected.
    Thanks so much for the black and white. It is so desperately needed.

    • pbecke says:

      Further to your concluding point, Jennifer, I also have the impression that, in his peremptory manner, Jesus was actively seeking to make it clear that he was not speaking to them as an interlocutor, still less an opponent in an argument: he was there to tell them the unvarnished truth.

      When we hold forth, we submit to an unwritten rule of courteous, social behaviour: ‘give and take’. We listen to the divergent opinions of our interlocutors. Not so, the prophets – still less of course, Jesus who was, is and will always be the fulness of truth.

      Also, in his manner and methods Jesus was sometimes challenging the faith of his hearers, as in his teaching concerning their eating his body and drinking his blood; also, in that incident with the Canaanite woman, who was not, however, taken in by his very offensive dismissal of her as a dog, as I strongly suspect he would have known in advance. If so, he would simply have been using that courageous and faith-filled woman as a kind of ‘teaching aid’. They were tough people in every way.

    • Louise says:

      It is handy, when charged with being mean, simply because one speaks of sin, to come back with such an expression of “meh” or in some cases “LOL!” I have used both to advantage. 🙂

  4. Taylor says:

    i, too am astonished at times at the silence in the commentaries.

    I think he was talking to hardened sinners…

  5. Shan Gill says:

    There are many in this world who have glimpsed the naked truth and have run screaming and shrieking from the room, dainty souls that they are. Then they, in their delicate righteousness, want to wall over the door to that room to prevent others from being “offended”.
    Everyone who has heard the name “Jesus, the Christ” proclaimed as Lord God, Son of the Father from before time began, has to make a judgement – is He, or isn’t He? And in that judgement rests our eternal future.
    Faith is a gift, and we mustn’t mock those who haven’t been given the gift, but we must pray for them. Even as they work to destroy us.

  6. Bill McCarthy says:

    The key here is kingship: An absolute monarch rules every aspect of his kingdom. The person in today’s society that best represents an absolute monarch is a owner-proprietor. He controls every thing that goes on in his business. He decides who is hired or fired, what is sold and at what price, and how delivery occurs. Jesus is asking us to chose Him or something else to be our ruler. To let the KINGDOME OF GOD live in us or something else. Yes we can be ruled by the quest for wealth, power, fame, sex, or happiness and so much else.
    These rulers lead us to death. Only Jesus leads us to the Kingdom of God, joy and life. The question posed here is; If not me then who do you want to be your king? I think as a church we should spend lots more time talking about the reality and existence of the kingdom of God in the here and now.

    • Candida Bohnne Eittreim says:

      i agree with your very cogent commentary Bill. God is not real to the majority of Christians. They think that those of us who enjoy the real living presence of Christ are delusional, perhaps even brainwashed. It saddens me and impels me to pray that the Holy Spirit touches their stony hearts. Very very few priests address the presence of Christ in our lives, except when referencing the Holy Eucharist. i suspect it has not occurred to them that these poor souls cannot possibly believe in the transubstantion, if they cannot believe God, our God is a living God. God, who at times, walks amongst us and very often is still touching lives with His presence.

  7. Maria J. says:

    Thank you for caring enough to bring up these difficult passages, which might be harder for priests to deal with , as they deserve, in homilies , since churches are seen more as’ hospitals for the wounded ‘ , with priests more as the fathers of the prodigal sons ; yet , becuase of the context of being read in the Holy Mass, The Spirit possibly do talk to hearts , in its depth (thus, one more reason, to attend the Holy Mass and hear the scrpitures in the church , in the well ordained format of Old with the New , which in itself also help Him to be the King of our lives .)

    Wicked, unbelieving servants -which , most of us might have been at one time or other and these passages give us the occasion, to thank Him from the heart , to know what we deserved and others , in similar sitaution too face /deserve , thus , making one want to be in the priestly role of inetrcessors , which , The Lord HImself Is for us , once we accept Him as The King ; this might be the real tragedy for those who do not see. or believe in His goodness , from the darkness of sin and worldiness !

    ‘Eternal Father , I offer Thee, the The Adorable Face of Thy Beloved Son Jesus, for honor and glory of Thy Name , for the conversion of sinners and salvation of the dying ‘ is a prayer of the Holy Face Assocation ministry;
    http://www.holyface.com/medals.htm

    That sort of summarises the salvation theme for us , how The Lord , in HIs human nature takes up , what we deserve and in turn, allowing us to offer up same, as His Holy Face , esp. at every Eucharist , on behalf of all in our lives too, keeping hope alive in faith , seeing and looking forward with expectant faith, for the transformations in the the faces and hearts , in oneself and others one prays for , into the likeness of His children ..

    May it be through the two edged sword of the Spirit , in repentance and forgving mercy , for same to happen, and let His patience give us the peace , to wait, in hope , as we plead for mercy on all in the family lines too , where idolatry of various sorts might have led to the hardness of hearts or the rebellion of making oneself and thus the enemy powers , the king of one’s life !

    Thank you for that tidbit about the Roman connection too ; seems the burning desire of The Lord and of The Spirit , for the Churches , those with the valid succession and thus valid Eucharist ( the Orthodox ) to be in oneness with The Church ( thus , for the fulfillement of the promise of a world that believes ! )
    also helps to bring furthur light into these parables , how the Papacy is there to help The Church, to have The Lord as the true King and when same is rejected, nations fall under wicked kings and rulerships , that has been catastrophically evident all through history .

    That yearing and call , to say out loudly – ‘ we only want to rescue you from the tyranny of serving hardened masters , in fear and alienation ‘ might be what we are hearing , even though the message might get muffled and confusing , at times !

    May the Mother, who recieved and kept the Word faithfully, in trusting love , help us all , to have The Lord as The King of our lives , even as she drives away, from our midst , the enemy powers that want to rule us !

  8. Mark Morris says:

    This is a commentary I found
    Ver. 27.—But those mine enemies (the Jews, His citizens, who would not have Him to reign over them) bring them hither—to my Tribunal, in the valley of Jehosaphat and Jerusalem—and kill them before Me.” In the Greek, “Kill them before my face.” Our Lord alludes to those victorious kings who slew and destroyed their conquered rebels. By this destruction Christ signifies the extreme judgment of the Jews and His other enemies, and their own condemnation to eternal death in Gehenna, and that a living and vital death, where they will be perpetually tormented by death-dealing flames, and yet will never die. Our Lord alludes to Titus, who slaughtered the conquered Jews. He describes precisely to the letter the condemnation of the Jews, and the Gehenna which He has appointed for them when He shall return from heaven to judge and condemn them and the reprobate.

    Cornelius à Lapide. (1908). The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: S. Luke’s Gospel. (T. W. Mossman, Trans.) (Fourth Edition., Vol. 4, p. 462). Edinburgh: John Grant.

  9. Kelly Westover says:

    Msgr. Charles,
    Thank you for your insights on this. I would rather hear the ugly truth than a pretty lie.

  10. C Beltz says:

    First, I totally agree this was not a simple prediction of a purely human event, as Jesus is not purely human. It’s why His parables stand throughout time and are always relevant. There is always a divine aspect to what He said.

    So why so harsh? The audience could not or would not hear otherwise. A hardened heart won’t be softened by a feather. Think Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Jesus could not change their nature as they had already chosen with their free will to set against him, but Jesus could begin to wash away the hardness. Like the Grand Canyon, it will take many many years for him to carve a path through the hardness of their hearts, but His life giving water will prevail.

    Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a font of Mercy for us, I trust in you.

  11. Xavier Abraham says:

    Perhaps one reason why there aren’t many patristic commentaries could be that: the passage is clear (yes, quite painfully) with regard to the fate of those who reject the loving King.

  12. Matt says:

    Here’s my take:

    This passage describes the current age (between the ascension and the second coming). Jesus has gone to “a faraway land” (ascended to heaven) to obtain the Kingship from his Father. We (Christians) are the stewards who have been given the coins (saving grace). The “profit” is the souls we bring to Christ. The chastised servant received saving grace, but hid it away and did not even attempt to share it. In doing so, even he himself lost his faith and the saving grace that comes with it (“to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”). At the end of time, those who have not accepted Jesus as their king will enter judgment. (“Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.”)

    • John says:

      Matt,

      I like your commentary. It is perhaps more merciful to be slain before the King, than to spend an eternity in hell. To our mortal ears this parable from Jesus sounds mean. It certainly has a more visceral effect than talking about hell (which may seem less concerning to us, but, is nevertheless, far more painful.) It that sense, Jesus may actually be understating the consequences of our lack of urgency in his parable to us, all the while raising our awareness to hell with a little shock and awe story.

  13. Steve Cavanaugh says:

    Might the frame of this parable, ie, the story of the king who goes abroad to be made king, also be based on Jesus’ own personal history? After all, Herod the Great, who did not have a strong claim to the Judean kingdom because he was not of the house of David (he married a Hasmonean princess to legitimize his rule, but the Hasmoneans themselves were not of the Davidic line). He went to Rome and was confirmed as king there by the Senate. Upon securing his throne, he lost no time killing rivals and potential claimants. In using this story, well-known to the Jews of Jesus’ time, he would have been making quite clear that opposition to the Kingdom of God would also be met with severe consequences. As said in another place, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28 … another “mean” saying)

  14. David F says:

    I’m reminded that Jesus is not just telling the truth; He is Truth (and Life) itself. His truth telling is really an act of charity. I’m assuming He spoke harshly hear because in that way He would be heard. Perhaps some who heard these harsh words were unsettled enough to become open to Him, so that the fruit of this discourse would be eternal salvation. After all His word does not come back to Him empty.

  15. Bee bee says:

    Ah, from the mouth of babes…

    I find it astounding a child these days is so self-determined that the concept of punishment by authority is labeled as “mean.” And it is even more astounding that her comment about the punishment doled out by the one in authority sends priests into a tailspin trying to explain why the master’s actions are just! Wow, what a sea change!

    It seems to me that little girl, along with maybe lots and lots of adults, today find the prerogative of authority “mean”. Not too long ago parent’s absolute authority over their child was unquestioned. In Jesus’ time, a householder’s authority over his household and servants was absolute. A ruler’s authority over his subjects was absolute. Authority meant that whomever was in charge of you (your father, your master, the ruler, the king), determined your life. What else was Pontius Pilate’s authority to determine the death of Jesus, acting on behalf of Rome? So if the little girl thinks the man in the parable who punishes a lack of results is “mean,” what then does she think of the Crucifixion? Really, really mean? And are we, by the modern way of raising them, unwittingly teaching children to reject the authority of God over them; His prerogative to punish them for a life of disobedience? Maybe so. Will this little girl grow up to think God is “mean” because He doesn’t like gays?

    The kind of hierarchy of authority of Jesus’ time is still at work in Muslim run countries, where the authority of the father is absolute, and the ruler rules by fiat. I doubt modern Muslims listening to the parable would be surprised at all by the master’s action, and it probably did not surprise Jesus’ listeners. We are really heading into troubled waters if kids think authority has no right to punish, and punish severely.

    But I think the parable can be redeemed for this little girl. I have heard a wonderful interpretation of it, and those similar to it. The gold coins represent not our gifts and talents or even the time God has given us on earth, but mercy. So in the parable, some are given much mercy, some a little, but even those given a little are to extend great mercy to others, and bring in a rich harvest for God. This interpretation would be consistent with the parable of the servant who was forgiven much, but did not forgive his fellow servant, and the master punished him severely for that act of mercilessness. God does have authority over us, absolute, unquestionable authority. That fact cannot be denied. That He is a merciful God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, is very lucky for us.

  16. Repent and Believe the Gospel! says:

    Jesus used the “scare straight” method or the “tough love” method.
    That’s my style!

  17. one anonymous says:

    ” you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you…”
    Prophets of old used “shocking” language not to get some sort of response but because it was true. They didn’t soften their words because to do so would have been a betrayal to God Who directed them. Not only their words but even their lives and actions, as instructed by God, where a reflection of God’s reaching out to warn and instruct His people. Why was God so blunt, why such extreme measures… because the stakes were so high, and they are still to this day.

  18. Mike P says:

    The revelation of God though Jesus follows the pattern that starts the catechism. We were made to know, love and serve God. The gospels follow this pretty closely as we find out who God is through Jesus in His acts of love. Miracles abound as He reverses even death and the moving and melting of hardened heats and darkened minds. Eventually we know Him. But if we can not bring ourselves to love this Supreme Being then our desire to serve Him is not only nonexistent but we develop dislike and hatred mostly through selfishness and jealousy. This rejection of Gods “off the charts” humility (think the Eucharist..talk about not being recognized) to become a lowly human being to teach us how to live and who He is has to eventually allow Him as Creator to wipe out (slay) turn to ash, cause to not exist… us creatures! Remember “Revenge is The Lords”, we have no right to assign our duty to love one another is his power to remove those who WILL NOT SERVE. Thus as He uses a parable of the time to exposed the end of those who will not recognize His kingship we get a glimpse of His perfect justice.

  19. Richard Connell says:

    Jesus, Himself, was slain before the whole world and, in fact, He was slain by the men to whom He was speaking, which the bible describes as the fate of the Messiah. He is saying to them that the reason they refuse to accept Him is that they have made themselves Messiahs unto themselves and He tells them the eternal fate in store for those who do that and do not repent. This is echoed in St. Paul when he would say to people who would not listen to him, “Your own blood is on your head,” and then have no more to do them

    This is the only bible passage that I know of that specifically describes Jesus as angry: Mark 3:5 “And he looked round on them in anger, grieved at the hardness of their hearts, and said to the man, Stretch out thy hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored to him.” His anger in that passage is clearly connected to grief, as it is in the passage discussed in today’s post.

  20. heidi says:

    If read through the lens of the Old testament, I think there could be more depth to Jesus’ ‘harsh’ words. Repeatedly, the laws laid out in deuteronomy demand that the people of Israel use capital punishment to ‘purge the evil from your midst’. One example is herem warfare- which (due to weakness) was never fully complied with- to Israel’s detriment.
    The first king, Saul, shows himself to be a coward at his very anointing (he hid himself among the baggage). Saul failed at being a good strong king of Israel and his first great sin against his office was the failure to fulfill the requirements of the herem war decree. Samuel upbraids Saul for this weakness in 1 Sam 28:18 “Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today”.
    I would suggest that in the ‘Parable of the 10 Gold Coins” and in the “Talents”, Jesus is contrasting his strong Kingship with the ‘weakness’ of the Israelite kings (and people) who were unwilling to carry out the Lord’s ‘fierce wrath’.
    In the mind of the 1ce. Israelite, the Messiah had to be one “hard” enough to carry out the Lord’s ‘wrath’. This could’ve been what Jesus was characterizing by the extreme statement “in front of me”. He not only slays as justice demands, but commands that it be done in his presence – judgement executed par excellence. A sure sign of a strong and impenetrable King!

  21. Remnant Crusader says:

    The way of the wicked vanishes! In this parable, it takes the form of the King slaying those who oppose him. You are either for Jesus or against him. If you are (ultimately and unrepentantly) against him, you will be banished to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. This is basic Christianity. How is this surprising?

  22. Jim Soriano says:

    An eschatological interpretation of the passage: Jesus returns at the Final Judgment and …

  23. Clare Krishan says:

    Suitably chastened re: perceived discordant tone in an earlier thread, may I beg your readers’ indulgence to proffer some amateur philology of my own re: our Lord’s choice of words in this “teachable moment”?

    Jerome’s Latin choice for Luke’s rendering in Greek κατασφάζω (katasphazo) of whatever Aramaic term Jesus spoke* is ‘interfecio’ IMHO closer in sense to butchering, slaughter as in the culling of animals? Could the sense be an energetic and rapid — and for Jewish religious observances, by ritually pure albeit violent simultaneous severing of carotid arteries and jugular veins — exsanguination, as opposed to a less noble, more inhumane execution by asphyxiation (modern Greek ασφυξία asphyzia) or suffocation (from Latin “faux” the upper part of the throat, the pharynx, whence “faucet” is also derived) killing methods which were denounced as “abhominations” by Isaiah? Could our Lord be implying those human creatures cognizant of the gift of being ‘made in the image of God’ (ie took receipt of the gold coin knowing its value) but who neglect the endowment in their possession are thus already as dead and lifeless as a corpse? Jewish impurity rituals proscribed the procurement of a sacrificial beast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_heifer) for defiilement in the presence of a corpse.
    ___
    * May Jesus have said something akin to Hebrew נָכָה (nakah ) as in Cain’s smiting Abel Gen 4:8;
    or Hebrew הָרַג (harag ) as in God’s protection of Cain from being executed in vengeance;
    or Hebrew שָׁחַט (shachat ) as in Abraham’s offering to slay Isaac. Gen 22:10
    (a root related to striking – ie minting – of shekels ie gold coins);
    or Hebrew רָצַח (ratsach ) as in “Thou shalt not kill” on Moses Tablets of the Law, Ex 20:13
    or Hebrew עָרַף (`araph ) as in decapitation of a dog, Isa 66:3

    Whichever would have evoked an associated memory amongst Christ’s Jewish interlocutors even more unsettling than any shock we encounter on hearing these same verses, such as Daniel’s spooky “Mene, mene, teqel, uparsin” considering each gold coins was denominated as a “mina” weighing (*tekel) 50 shekels? This sense of “grim reaper” foreboding might be what the evangelist Luke sought to transmit to his Gentile audience unfamiliar with such cultural distinctions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shechita), reproducing the troipe of two minas followed by a deficient tekel then a reconciling of accounts with … kataphazo as equivalent to ‘upharsin’?

    This parable is thus directed IMHO to those privileged in being knowledgeable in their faith but who elect to neglect proper stewardship of this gift, rather than those who are ignorant, who never received the gift of a religious upbringing (ie the great majority of our ‘unchurched’ neighbors who await our witnessing to them in charity and patience).

  24. Gail Swain says:

    I’d rather get some tough love and truth from Jesus now than damnation later.

  25. Joseph says:

    What is IMHO?

  26. MikefromED says:

    I don’t know if you have used Bible Hub but if not you may find this page of interest:
    http://biblehub.com/luke/19-27.htm

  27. Steven Merten says:

    Jesus is the Noble man who will return as King under Messianic Reign. The Jews, Jesus ‘countrymen’ hated and murdered Jesus. The Jews did not want Jesus as their King. In our future era of the Apocalypse, Jesus will come and Rule the world with and through His Church, the Catholic Church. It is the Catholic Church, gifted with Christ’s words, teachings and the Holy Spirit, who is the faithful servant of Christ, using Christ’s gifts to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

    The fall of the ‘false prophet’ in the Book of Revelation, is the fall of Judaism, when Jesus takes over as King and Ruler of the world. Jesus is teaching apocalyptic prophesy in Luke 19.

    http://www.apocalypseangel.com/prophet.html

    NAB2 ISA 9:13

    So the LORD severs from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day. (The elder and the noble are the head, the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.) The leaders of this people mislead them and those to be led are engulfed.

    NAB2 JER 13:13

    Thus says the LORD: Beware! I am filling with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land, the kings who succeed to David’s throne, the priests and prophets, and all the citizens of Jerusalem. I will dash them against each other, fathers and sons together, says the LORD; I will show no compassion, I will not spare or pity, but will destroy them.

    NAB2 JER 6:12

    For I will stretch forth my hand against those who dwell in this land, says the LORD. Small and great alike, all are greedy for gain; prophet and priest, all practice fraud. They would repair, as though it were nought, the injury to my people: “Peace, peace!” they say, though there is no peace. They are odious; they have done abominable things, yet they are not at all ashamed, they know not how to blush. Hence they shall be among those who fall; in their time of punishment they shall go down, says the LORD.

    • Steven Merten says:

      Hello again Fr. Pope,

      I wanted to add other teachings of Jesus which are talking about the same thing as Luke 19:27.

      NAB LUKE 19:27 Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’”

      NAB MAT 21:41 They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?

      Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit. (The one who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.)” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them.

      NAB LUKE 19:38

      They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He said in reply, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

      Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

      http://www.apocalypseangel.com/prophet.html