Luke 17:5-10

Luke 17:5-10
Ordinary C45


The apostlesA said to the Lord,B “IncreaseC our faith!”D 

Notes on verse 5

A “apostles” = apostolos. From apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for); {probably from histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm)}}. This is a messenger – someone sent out on a mission as an envoy or delegate. It can also refer to someone set at liberty. Generally, this is a messenger who is meant to be a representative of the one who sent them. They are thus, set apart on a mission literally or figuratively.
B “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
C “increase” = prostithemi. 18x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to add, place to, bring together for a reason, or add up.
D “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

The Lord replied, “If you hadE faith the size of a mustardF seed,G you could say to this mulberry tree,H

Notes on verse 6a

E “had” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
F “mustard” = sinapi. 5x in NT. Perhaps from sinomai (to hurt or sting). This is a mustard plant.
G “seed” = kokkos. 7x in NT. This is grain, kernel, or seed.
H “mulberry tree” = sukaminos. 1x in NT. From Hebrew shiqmah (a sycamore tree or its fruit; perhaps the root of the word sycamore) OR related to sukomorea (sycamore, fig mulberry); {from sukon (fig) + moron (black mulberry)}. This is a black mulberry or sycamine tree. It has black berries and has some medical applications.

‘Be uprootedI and plantedJ in the sea,’K and it would obeyL you.

Notes on verse 6b

I “be uprooted” = ekrizoo. 4x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + rhizoo (to plant, take root, establish, become stable); {from rhiza (a root literally or figuratively; the root of what comes from it – shoot, source, descendant)}. This is to pull out by something’s roots or to root out.
J “planted” = phuteuo. 11x in NT. From phuton (a plant) OR from the base of phuo (to grow, produce, spring up; perhaps from the sense of puff or blow – to swell up; hence, to germinate; to grow literally or figuratively). This is plant or implant. Figuratively, this word is used for Christian teaching.
K “sea” = thalassa. Perhaps from hals (sea, salt, a boy of saltwater) or halas (salt; can be figurative for prudence). This is the sea, a lake, or seashore.
L “obey” = hupakouo. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing). This is to listen, to attend to, or obey. It is acting subordinate to one who speaks – heeding a command or authority.

“Who among you would say to your slaveM who has just come inN from plowing or tending sheepO in the field,P

Notes on verse 7a

M “slave” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
N “come in” = eiserchomai. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.
O “tending sheep” = poimaino. 11x in NT. From poimen (shepherd in a literal or figurative sense – one who feeds, protects, rules). This is to tend, care for, shepherd. It focuses on tending, guiding, and protecting rather than feeding. Figuratively, it can mean to govern.
P “field” = agros. This is a field as a place where one grows crops or pastures cattle. It can also refer to a farm or lands. This is one of the roots of “agriculture.”

‘ComeQ here at onceR and take your place at the table’?S 

Would you not rather say to him, ‘PrepareT supperU for me;

Notes on verses 7b-8a

Q “come” = parerchomai. Related to “come in” in v7. From para (from beside, by) + erchomai (see note N above).
R “at once” = eutheos. Related to “increase” in v5. From euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked); {perhaps from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + tithemi (see note C above)}. This is directly, soon, at once.
S “take…place at the table” = anapipto. 12x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + pipto (to fall literally or figuratively). This is to fall back, recline, lie down. One reclined at the dinner table.
T “prepare” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
U “supper” = deipneo. 4x in NT. From deipnon (a dinner or a feast – a meal in the afternoon or, more commonly, the evening); from the same as dapane (cost or expense); from dapto (to devour). This is to eat the main, evening meal.

put on your apronV and serveW me while I eatX and drink;Y later you may eat and drink’? 

Notes on verse 8b

V “put on…apron” = perizonnumi. 6x in NT. From peri (all-around, encompassing, excess) + zonnumi (to gird, prepare for an active task; to gird up your loins so that you are able to move fast); {perhaps from zone (belt, waistband, purse); probably related to zugos (yoke, set of scales; what unites people in shared work; servitude or obligation); from zeugnumi (to yoke)}. This is to gird or clothe. It is to get ready for something that requires one to be active or for travel. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
W “serve” = diakoneo. From diakonos (servant, minister, waiter, or attendant; a person who performs a service, including religious service); {perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute); {related to dio (put to flight)}}. This is to wait at table, to serve generally, to minister or administer, to be in the office of deacon. To wait on someone as a slave, friend, or host.
X “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
Y “drink” = pino. This is to drink, literally or figuratively.

Do you thankZ the slave for doingAA what was commanded?BB 

Notes on verse 9

Z “thank” = echo + charis. Literally, “have gratitude.” Echo is the same as “had” in v6. See note E above. Charis is from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
AA “doing” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
BB “commanded” = diatasso. 16x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + tasso (to arrange, appoint, determine). This is to arrange thoroughly, charge, appoint, give orders to. It is a command that is a proper order, given with the chain of command and so binding. This is from ancient military language.

10 So you also, when you have done all that you were orderedCC to do, say, ‘We are worthlessDD slaves; we have done only what we oughtEE to have done!’”

Notes on verse 10

CC “ordered” = diatasso. Same as “commanded” in v9. See note BB above.
DD “worthless” = achreios. 2x in NT. From a (not, without) + chreios (useful) OR from a (not, without) + derivative of chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary); {from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request)}. This is unneeded, unprofitable, unworthy. It can also mean useless.
EE “ought” = opheilo. Perhaps from the base of ophelos (advantage, gain, profit); from ophello (heaped together, accumulate, increase). This is to be indebted morally or legally – having an obligation one must meet. This term came from the legal world, but was then adopted in reference to morality. In the New Testament it is used for humanity’s ethical responsibility.

Image credit: “Lone Tree of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand” by johnlsl, 2019.

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