Because Jesus’ face was set to go up to Jerusalem, his disciples thought that he was going to declare himself as the Messiah at Jerusalem and restore the kingdom to the nation of Israel, taking the control out of the hands of the imperial Romans. To disabuse the minds of his disciples of this wrong idea, Jesus Christ gave the parable to indicate that his kingdom was a long way off.
6 With regard to this, we read: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. Therefore he said: ‘A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return.’”—Luke 19:11, 12.
7. (a) In the parable, how did Jesus indicate that the securing and applying of the kingly power would require a long time from then? (b) How was Jesus indeed a “man of noble birth”?
7 In this way Jesus hinted that he did not have the kingly power as yet, but that he had to travel a long distance in order to secure it for himself. In view of the relative slowness of travel nineteen hundred years ago, a journey to a distant location and then the return journey would indicate the passing of a long period of time. Jesus was not traveling to as near a place as Jerusalem, fourteen miles from Jericho, to secure the kingly power to which he was entitled because of his noble birth. (Luke 19:12, Jerusalem Bible; New American Bible; New English Bible; New World Translation) Although Jesus had been a lowly carpenter in the city of Nazareth, yet he was indeed a nobleman or “man of noble birth.” He was a natural descendant of King David, whose capital city had been Jerusalem. As such a person, he was entitled to inherit the kingdom of David over all Israel, with Jerusalem as his capital. Jesus had performed so many miracles by the power of God, and now his disciples thought that the Messianic “kingdom of God” would display itself in a miraculous manner by making Jesus the acting King over Israel in spite of the Roman occupation of the land. Thus the Messianic kingdom of God could be established instantly. But Jesus knew that the Kingdom was not as near as the time it would take for him to get to Jerusalem.—Luke 3:23-31; Matt. 1:1-17.
8, 9. (a) Was the time involved the amount of time it took to make the trip to and from Rome, and why not? (b) How, in his words to King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, did Jehovah indicate that he was the One to bestow the kingly power?
8 Neither was the time that was involved the amount of time that it took to journey from Palestine to imperial Rome in Italy and then to return to Jerusalem. Rome was not the location for Jesus Christ to get his kingly power. The source of his kingly power was not Caesar or the Roman Senate. That fact was painfully demonstrated when the Roman soldiers impaled him on Passover Day as a seditious claimant to kingship. The distant place for Jesus to travel to in order to get the kingly power was the location of the One who had established the Messianic kingdom of Jesus’ forefather David. That One was Jehovah God, and his location was in heaven. Jehovah indicated that He was the One to bestow the kingly power upon the rightful descendant of King David, when he said to King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, shortly before his dethronement in the year 607 B.C.E.:
9 “Remove the [royal] turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.”—Ezek. 21:26, 27.
10. Why was Jesus not assuming or presumptuous in imitating the nobleman and going on a long journey to get kingly power?
10 Jesus Christ was not assuming or presumptuous when he determined to imitate the nobleman of the parable and go on what would be a journey consuming a lot of time in order to secure kingship for himself. Just before he was conceived in the womb of his earthly mother Mary of the royal house of David, the angel Gabriel said concerning her son whom she was to call Jesus: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33) Now it required a divine miracle for this Son of the Most High to have his life transferred from heaven to earth. So, now, how was Jesus Christ to get back to heaven in order to secure the Davidic kingdom from his heavenly Father?
11, 12. (a) By what miracle was Jesus enabled to make the journey to the location for receiving the kingly power? (b) Why is such a resurrection of Jesus not our theory on the matter?
11 The divine rule is unalterably laid down: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Cor. 15:50) Evidently, then, it would have to be by another miracle that Jesus Christ would take the journey back to heaven to the Supreme Authority who could bestow the Kingdom upon him. Obviously Jesus would have to lay aside his “flesh and blood.” This would require him to lay down his perfect human life innocently as a human sacrifice. But this sacrificial death would not put him in heaven. God would have to bring his sacrificed Son back to life again, but not as a Son of “flesh and blood” again. It would have to be as a spiritual Son with a spirit body, invisible to human eyes but visible to heavenly eyes. So this would require Almighty God Jehovah not only to perform the miracle of resurrecting his sacrificed Son but also to resurrect him as a spirit being, with the promised reward of immortality and incorruptibility. This is exactly what Jehovah did.
15, 16. (a) When did the resurrected Jesus start on the journey to that “distant land,” and before what witnesses? (b) By when must he have reached that “distant land,” and how does Peter verify this?
15 When the resurrected Jesus Christ did ascend to his heavenly Father would be the time that he started traveling to the “distant land.” This was on the fortieth day from his resurrection from the dead. As a number of disciples on the Mount of Olives saw the materialized body in which Jesus had appeared ascending into the sky and disappearing, two angels stood by them and said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.” (Acts 1:11) How long it took Jesus Christ in the spirit realm to reach the “distant land” of the parable, we do not know, but it was within ten days, or before the festival day of Pentecost of that year of 33 C.E.