The Word of the Week – The Disciple’s Duty
Luke 17:7-10 NASB “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”
In order to rightly divide this passage of Scripture, we must first understand that its specific context is found in verses 1-6 (Luke 17:1-6). In verses 1-4 (Luke 17:1-4), Jesus gives His disciples instruction regarding offenses that are committed by believers against believers, in particular instructing them to forgive repentant offenders. In verse 5 (Luke 17:5), the disciples react to Jesus’ instruction by complaining that such obedience would require an enormous amount of faith. However, Jesus leaves the men no room for such excuses, telling them in verse 6, Luke 17:6, that such obedience actually requires only the smallest amount of faith.
With this contextual foundation laid, Jesus now presents His disciples with the hypothetical situation of verses 7-10 (Luke 17:7-10) in order to demonstrate a further point to them – namely His Lordship. He asks the men to imagine themselves as the owner of a household having a slave who has just come in from a hard day of work. He then poses this question – Would you have the slave immediately serve himself or would the slave first serve you and then serve himself? Clearly the custom of the day was for a slave to first serve his master and then serve himself afterwards.
Further, in verse 9, (Luke 17:9) Jesus asks whether or not such a slave would receive special recognition or reward for his service. Clearly he would not since he was only doing that which was his duty to do in the first place.
In verse 10 (Luke 17:10), Jesus makes application from this hypothetical situation to the lives of His disciples – “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”
His point is this – The disciples were to obey the instruction of verses 1-4 (Luke 17:1-4) because Jesus is Lord! Would they receive a special pat on the back? No. Should they? No. Why? Because just as it is the duty of a slave to obey his master so too is it the duty of a disciple to obey his Lord.
In closing, what application should we take from this passage for our lives?
- Jesus is Lord – therefore it is the duty of His people to serve and obey Him. I recommend reading the book “Slave” by John MacArthur for more information.
- God is not indebted to us anyway.
- Obedience is our duty and there is no excuse for disobeying.
Luke 6:46 NASB “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
Serve the Lord with Gladness
Serve the Lord with gladness, in our works and ways,
Come before His presence with our songs of praise,
Unto Him our Maker, we would pledge anew,
Life’s supreme devotion to service true.
B.B. McKinney 1886-1952
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I am Justin Breeden. My wife, Stacy, and I live in Dandrdige, TN. Currently the pastor of French Broad Church of the Brethren. Previously I served as Pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN for two and a half years. I am studying the Two Wine Theory. Regarding my faith, I praise God that the Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to save me by His grace during the summer of 2006 at the age of 22.