I. The Master’s Expectations for Service (7-9)
VERSE 7: Jesus addresses this parable to his disciples: “Which of you having a slave….”
“Slave” – not Diakonos – usually translated as “servant” – (focus on work)
but Doulos – which in some contexts is translated “slave” or “bondslave” – (focus on relationship to master)
(These two terms sometimes overlap semantically such that doulos can also mean “servant.”)
Doulos: 1) Absolute Ownership, 2) Absolute Obedience
Jesus begins with a question expecting a negative answer. To invite a slave to join in a meal would suggest equality or honor worthy only of a guest. A slave is not a guest.
“a slave” – One slave who does all field work and housework.
“meal” – The main meal of the day was in the late afternoon in Jewish culture.
(No Extra Help!)
VERSE 8: Jesus asks a second question, this time expecting a positive answer.
A slave’s duty does not end at the master’s doorway when he comes in from work in the field!
No time limit regarding the slaves duty.
No duty limit either. The slave must be willing to have one thing upon another put on him.
The slave’s needs are only met at the end of the day after the master’s needs are met.
(No Time Off!)
VERSE 9: Jesus asks a third question, expecting a negative answer.
Does the master thank the servant? No!
“he does not thank the slave, does he? – Has the servant found merit or credit in the master’s eyes for having served as expected?
Does the master owe the servant anything? Is master indebted to the servant?
The absurdity of the question and the Greek syntax both indicate that no right minded employer would act in such a way. Servants serve and there is no point in thinking otherwise.
- The servant is always a debtor of service.
- The master is never a debtor of reward.
(No Thanks Deserved!)
Having explained the master’s expectations of his servant, now Jesus speaks of
I. The Servant’s Motivation for Service (10)
Jesus has been gradually luring his disciples into his trap. He has them where he wants them. Now Jesus springs the trap!
Notice two subtle shifts take place in verse 10:
- “so you also” – shift from disciples having a slave, to being the slave!
- “say this: we are unworthy slaves” – shift from thoughts of the master to those of the slave.
If they agree from the perspective of a master (vv. 7-9), how much more must they agree if they are truly servants (v.10)!
“All the things which are commanded you” – Notice the passive voice in Greek implies God does the commanding.
“Unworthy” – Literally in Greek – “without need.” The word describes a slave who is dispensable, expendable, unworthy. Unworthy of receiving a reward for service.
Main point of verse 10 – Service does not entitle the slave to a reward.
The slave owes the master total obedience. The only limit to the slave’s duty is the master’s will