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?
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 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 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?
“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?
“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?
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?
Ten of his slaves.
He gave them
He said to them.
Until I come back.’”
καλέσας δὲ δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δέκα μνᾶς, καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Πραγματεύσασθε ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this nobleman summoned 10 of his slaves (λέσας δὲ δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ). He gave them each 10 minas (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δέκα μνᾶς). Luke had this nobleman give 10 minas to 10 slaves. Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term μνᾶς, that means a mina, a Greek monetary unit equal to 100 drachmas. He used this word 9 times, mostly in this parable. A rough equivalent would be $20.00 USA. In ancient times, it was worth about a quarter of a year’s salary. This nobleman told them (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to do business (Πραγματεύσασθε) with these minas until he came back (ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι). Once again, Luke used a word that is not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers, Πραγματεύσασθε, that means to busy oneself, or transact business trades. Matthew, chapter 25:15, has something similar, perhaps this is a Q source. In Matthew, the rich owner was dealing with talents, which was even more valuable. There were 3,600 shekels in a talent. There were 60 minas to a talent. Thus, these talents were a lot of money. This very trusting rich person gave to one of his slaves 5 talents (καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκεν πέντε τάλαντα). He gave 2 talents (ᾧ δὲ δύο) to the 2nd slave and one talent (ᾧ δὲ ἕν) to the 3rd slave. They received this according to their ability (ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν). Then he went away immediately (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν Εὐθέως). In each case, money was given to slaves in the household. Luke had 10 slaves, but Matthew only had 3. In Luke, there was an explicit saying to do business, while it was only implicit in Matthew, where some received more than others. Luke had all of them receive the same amount, with a greater emphasis on equality. Has someone ever entrusted you with some money?
To a distant country
To get royal power
Then he would return.’”
εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν). After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι). This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers. It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming. However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness. There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here. The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone. In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν). This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ). In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος). He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ). He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ). However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household. What do you do when you go on a long journey?
καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες Ἰησοῦ Ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς
Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers. Luke indicated that the lepers cried out (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες), calling Jesus “Master! (Ἰησοῦ Ἐπιστάτα)”. They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς). This was a common approach to Jesus. They wanted mercy or compassion. They called Jesus their master, as if they were slaves. Luke alone, among the biblical writers, used this term Ἐπιστάτα, that means master, teacher, chief, or commander, 7 times in this gospel. However, they did not call him “Lord”. What is your favorite title for Jesus?