PART VIII: THE MISCELLANEOUS PARABLES
Luke arranges verses 1-10 of chapter 17 as a coherent
whole. Let us first look at the whole passage, and then to
the parable itself. The Parable of the Servant's Duty is
found only in Luke 17:7-10.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Things
that cause people to sin are bound to
come, but woe to that person through whom
they come. It would be better for him to
be thrown into the sea with a millstone
tied around his neck than for him to
cause one of these little ones to sin.
So watch yourselves.
"If your brother sins, rebuke him,
and if he repents, forgive him. If he
sins against you seven times in a day and
seven times comes back to you and says,
`I repent,' forgive him."
The apostles said to the Lord,
"Increase our faith!"
He replied, "If you have faith as
small as a mustard seed, you can say to
this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and
planted in the sea,' and it will obey
you. (Luke 17:1-6, New International
"Suppose one of you had a servant
plowing or looking after the sheep.
Would he say to the servant when he comes
in from the field, `Come along now and
sit down to eat'? Would he not rather
say, `Prepare my supper, get yourself
ready and wait on me while I eat and
drink; after that you may eat and drink'?
Would he thank the servant because
he did what he was told to do? So you also,
when you have done everything you were
told to do, should say, `We are unworthy
servants; we have only done our duty.'"
(Luke 17:7-10, New International
The InterpretationHere is an outline of the whole passage, adapted from Childers
(BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY, LUKE, By Charles Childers,
pp. 570 ff.):
1. FAILURE (vv 1-2). "Things that cause people to sin are
bound to come...." Here, Jesus warns against causing a
young convert or a child to sin. If we are performing our
duty, we will reduce our temptation to sin. For instance, if
King David had been out leading his army, he would probably
not have been tempted with Bathsheba. We have hope when we
fail, because in his mercy we find forgiveness when we ask.
2. FORGIVENESS (vv 3-4). "If your brother sins, rebuke him,
and if he repents, forgive him." Here, Jesus teaches us to
have an ATTITUDE and WILLINGNESS to forgive. How many times
has our Heavenly Father forgiven us? What offenses has our
Heavenly Father forgiven us?
3. FAITH (vv 5-6). "Increase our faith!" Jesus taught
that a small amount of biblical faith is powerful. If we are
faithful, then God can place more faith in us and entrust us
with more faith.
4. FAITHFULNESS (vv. 7-10). We have a duty to obey God.
Performing our duty does not merit any special reward from
God. No works or good conduct can ever earn our salvation,
otherwise Jesus would not have had to die for our sin. If we
serve God through love, then our motivation will be right.
The characters of the story and the persons whom they
represent in reality are:
1. Household Owner God
2. Servant Christian
In the time of Christ, there were 60,000,000 slaves in the
Roman Empire. (BEACON BIBLE COMMENTARY, LUKE, By harles
Childers, pp. 570 ff.). We cannot fully comprehend the
scope and inhumanity of this today. Probably the closest
comparison we have today in the United States is the employer
...what they asked for was an increase, not of
love, but of faith. It was an apprehension on
their part that life could only be equal to the
demands of Jesus by faith, by that activity of the
human soul that takes hold upon the invisible.
(Morgan, THE PARABLES AND METAPHORS
OF OUR LORD, p. 228).
Our Lord said, You do not need more faith, but
faith of a different kind and nature. It is not a
question of quantity, but one of quality.
Then what is faith? Faith is that which has
in it a principle of life. We may define a living
faith by saying three things about it. Living
faith is first conviction concerning the fact of
God. It is secondly the experience of relationship
with God. Thirdly and consequently, living faith
is absolute submission to the will of God.
I am emphasizing a truth that is fundamental;
first, conviction of God; secondly, a relationship
with God; and then obedience to God. We cannot
exercise faith in God doing anything that we do not
know to be the will of God. (Morgan, NOTES ON THE
PARABLES AND METAPHORS OF OUR LORD, p. 230).
Jesus is describing his own relationship with his
Heavenly Father. He believed in his Father. He loved his
Father, therefore he humbled himself submitted to his
Father's will. Paul taught us that, ....
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.
(Galatians 5:6) (New International Version)
OUR DUTY TO GOD IS TRUSTING,
Let us pray this prayer from our
whole hearts: Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the truths that Jesus
taught in this passage. With your help,
I accept them. I choose to love,
believe and serve you.
In Jesus' Name,