This author said that the slaves should obey their masters, whether they were kind or not. He stressed the importance of suffering by enduring pain unjustly. Where is the credit if you endure pain for doing wrong? However, you have God’s approval if you endure pain for doing the right thing. Jesus Christ has suffered for them. Thus, they should follow the example of Christ. Should a slave obey his master?
Slaves (chapter 2)
Paul said that slaves should be submissive to their master owners. They should satisfy their owners in every respect and not talk back. Slaves were not to steal from their masters. They should be faithful to their masters, so that they would be an ornament to the doctrine of our saving God. Should slaves submit to their masters?
Slaves (chapter 6)
Paul said that slaves should regard their owner masters as worthy of honor. The name of God and their teaching should not be blasphemed. If they have believing owner masters, they should not be disrespectful to them, since they all belong to the same church community. In fact, Paul said that these believing slaves should serve the believing owner masters more since they are bringing a beneficial service to the whole believing community. What advice would you give to slaves?
Slaves (Eph. 6:5)
To your earthly human masters,
In singleness of heart,
As you obey
Οἱ δοῦλοι, ὑπακούετε τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν ὡς τῷ Χριστῷ,
Paul said, “Slaves (Οἱ δοῦλοι)! Be obedient (ὑπακούετε) to your earthly human masters (τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις), with fear (μετὰ φόβου) and trembling (καὶ τρόμου), in singleness of heart (ἐν ἁπλότητι τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν), as you obey Christ (ὡς τῷ Χριστῷ).” Only the Pauline letters used this word ἁπλότητι, that means singleness, simplicity, sincerity, purity, or graciousness. Paul clearly condones slavery as a way of life in his contemporary society. These slaves, like the wives of husbands, should obey their human masters. Paul explains in detail they should have a fear and trembling towards their masters. In fact, they should obey with a sincere heart as if their master was Jesus Christ. There was no attempt on the part of Paul and the other early Christians to overturn the institutional slavery that was present in Greek and Jewish society at that time. Clearly, Paul wants the Christian slaves to obey their masters, just as they obey Jesus Christ. Thus, you can see why this passage was a favorite of American Christian slave owners in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Do you believe that slavery is consistent with belief in Jesus Christ?
The parable was aimed at the chief priests and the Scribes (Lk 20:19-20:19)
And the chief priests
That he had told
ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην.
Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the chief priests (καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) realized or perceived (ἔγνωσαν γὰρ) that he had told this parable against them (ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην). There was something similar in Matthew chapter 21:45, and Mark, chapter 12:12. Mark said that the unnamed “they” realized or knew that Jesus had told this parable against them (ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν εἶπεν). They were the wicked evil tenants of the vineyard. The landowner was God the Father. The slaves were the Israelite prophets, while Jesus was the Son of the Father. In Matthew, the chief priests and the Pharisees (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) did not have to wait for an explanation of this parable about the wicked evil tenants of the vineyard. They knew or realized, on hearing (Καὶ ἀκούσαντες) this parable story (τὰς παραβολὰς αὐτοῦ), that these evil tenants that Jesus was talking about was them (ἔγνωσαν ὅτι περὶ αὐτῶν λέγει). Thus, the Jerusalem Jewish religious leaders understood that this parable was clearly aimed at them. Have you ever realized that people were talking about you?
They killed him (Lk 20:15-20:15)
They threw him
Out of the vineyard.
They killed him.
What then will the owner
Of the vineyard
Do to them?”
καὶ ἐκβαλόντες αὐτὸν ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος ἀπέκτειναν. τί οὖν ποιήσει αὐτοῖς ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος;
Luke indicated that Jesus said that these farmer tenants threw the beloved son of the vineyard owner out of the vineyard (καὶ ἐκβαλόντες αὐτὸν ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος). They killed him (ἀπέκτειναν). What do you think that the lord or owner of the vineyard was going to do to them (τί οὖν ποιήσει αὐτοῖς ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος)? This parable of the killing of the landowner’s son can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:39, and Mark, chapter 12:8, almost word for word. Mark indicated that Jesus continued with this story. Thus, these wicked tenants seized the owner’s son (καὶ λαβόντες) and killed him (ἀπέκτειναν αὐτόν). Finally, they threw him out or cast him out of the vineyard (καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος). Both Luke and Matthew had him thrown out before he was killed, but Mark said that they killed him and then threw him out. Matthew indicated that Jesus said that these wicked tenants seized the son (καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν) of the vineyard owner and cast him out of the vineyard (ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος), where they killed him (καὶ ἀπέκτειναν). The meaning of this parable was becoming clearer. The landowner was God the Father. The vineyard was Israel. The tenants were the Jewish religious leaders. The slaves were the Israelite prophets. Jesus was the beloved son of the Father. He was killed either outside of Jerusalem, the vineyard, or thrown out after his death. Clearly, Jesus would not have to explain this parable to his disciples and apostles. Did you get the meaning of this story?
The third slave (Lk 20:12-20:12)
“The vineyard owner
Sent still a third slave.
They also wounded him.
They threw out
This third slave.”
καὶ προσέθετο τρίτον πέμψαι· οἱ δὲ καὶ τοῦτον τραυματίσαντες ἐξέβαλον.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that the vineyard owner still proceeded to send a third slave (καὶ προσέθετο τρίτον πέμψαι). These wicked tenants also wounded him (οἱ δὲ καὶ τοῦτον τραυματίσαντες) and threw him out (ἐξέβαλον). This parable about the terrible behavior of the wicked tenants can also be found in Mark, chapter 12:5, with a little more elaboration. However, there was no 3rd group in Matthew. Mark indicated that Jesus said that this landowner sent another slave (καὶ ἄλλον ἀπέστειλεν), but that they killed him (κἀκεῖνον ἀπέκτειναν). He also sent more slaves (καὶ πολλοὺς ἄλλους). They either beat them up (οὓς μὲν δέροντες) or killed them (οὓς δὲ ἀποκτέννοντες). The wicked tenants did the same thing to all of them, just as they had done to the first group of slaves. This plan of the landowner was not working out. Have you ever been a landowner with tenants?
On to Jerusalem (Lk 19:28-19:28)
“After Jesus had said this,
He went on ahead.
He was going up
Καὶ εἰπὼν ταῦτα ἐπορεύετο ἔμπροσθεν ἀναβαίνων εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα.
Luke said that Jesus had said these things (Καὶ εἰπὼν ταῦτα). He had finished this parable about the slaves and how they used the 10 minas. Then he went on ahead (ἐπορεύετο ἔμπροσθεν) going up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαίνων εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα). This would begin the so-called Passion week narrative. Not only will the 3 synoptic gospel writers but also the Gospel of John describe this passion week. This triumphal entry into Jerusalem will be the highlight of the career of Jesus. For Luke, Jesus had been on a long journey to the holy city that began 10 chapters earlier. His entrance into Jerusalem was like a royal procession that has led to the Roman Catholic practice of Palm Sunday, that is actually based on John, chapter 12:12-13. John said that a great crowd had come to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, so that they took palm tree branches and went out to meet Jesus. Do you like Palm Sunday?
Give to those who have something already (Lk 19:26-19:26)
“I tell you!
All those who have,
More will be given!
But from those
Who have nothing,
Even what they have
Will be taken away.”
λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι παντὶ τῷ ἔχοντι δοθήσεται, ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται.
Luke indicated that Jesus responded with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν). All those who already have things (τι παντὶ τῷ ἔχοντι), more will be given to them (δοθήσεται). From those who have nothing (ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος), even what they do have (καὶ ὃ ἔχει) will be taken away (ἀρθήσεται). There was no insistence on equality here. This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:29, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus said that this master slave owner rewarded and punished his slaves. He told them that all those who have, will be given more (τῷ γὰρ ἔχοντι παντὶ δοθήσεται), so that they will have an abundance or overflow of goods (καὶ περισσευθήσεται). But those who have nothing (τοῦ δὲ μὴ ἔχοντος), even what little they have will be taken away from them (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ). Matthew added more comments that are not in Luke. As for this worthless slave (καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον), he was to be thrown into the outer darkness (ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον), where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων), the common terms for sadness and mourning. Thus, the kingdom of heaven will have rewards and punishments. Do you want to be rewarded or punished in eternal life?
The results of trading (Lk 19:15-19:15)
Received royal power.
When he returned,
He ordered those slaves,
He had given the money,
To be summoned.
He might find out
What they had gained
καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον, ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this nobleman did receive his royal power (καὶ ἐγένετο…αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν) and then he returned home (ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν). Once again, only Luke used this term ἐπανελθεῖν that means to return or come back again. This nobleman ordered those 10 slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned to him (καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον). He wanted to find out what they had gained by trading (ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο). Sure enough, this is the only use of the word διεπραγματεύσατο, in all the Greek biblical literature that means to examine thoroughly, to gain by trading, or doing business. There is an equivalent in Matthew, chapter 25:19, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus said that after a long time (μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον), the master or lord of these slaves came back (ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων). He then wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves (καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν). Luke had the more colorful language to explain the returning rich man who wanted to see how his slaves had done in their business dealings. Have you ever traded stocks or other assets to make money?