This is an e-mail I just sent to Mike Devries:
As you said I got "a parable going on." It's in Luke 19 starting in verse 11. Now Jesus is in Jericho I believe. He's getting ready to go to Jerusalem. Now Jesus has recently substantiated Himself as the "son of David," at least in the minds of some of the people around Him, by healing the blind man who called Him "son of David." He has just dealt with Zacchaeus somehow causing him to give away his money to the poor, probably having significant effect on the current culture which is struggling with a huge economic gap between rich and poor. Now Luke introduces this parable writing "...because He was nearing Jerusalem, He told a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away." Now my understanding of their understanding of Messiah was that he's to substantiate himself as "messiah" or "son of David," travel to Jerusalem, rebuild the temple, and battle the "enemy" (in short). So I can only imagine what thoughts are swimming through the minds of Jesus' listeners. They must be expecting Jesus to go to Jerusalem to beat the crap out of Herod and all the Romans. Now Jesus expects these thoughts and begins to tell a story of a King who actually lived. Archaeleus did essentially all the things in this parable. He goes to a far country to be crowned followed by delegates to let the authorities know that they did not want him as their king. When Archaeleus returns he takes money away from those who "collected no interest" on it, gave it to those who were already rich and then commanded the death of all who opposed Him. So, is this parable Jesus reminding them that their traditional thought was not going to work and Jesus was going to do it different? The story, sort of, saying the way it's not gonna happen instead of the way it really was going to happen.
So Mike, I've heard it explained that this parable has something to do with the "second coming" and how we use our gifts. If that's what it's about, then how? Why would Jesus associate Himself with Archaeleus? To take away money from a "have not" and give it to someone who has would have been familiar and evil to these people, right? To have everyone who doesn't like you killed in front of you is not a very "Christ like" thing to do, right?
How does this parable do what Luke says it's supposed to do? What do you think?