Meaning of the parable in Luke 17:7-10
The essence of Christianity is our faith (trust) in Jesus. The disciples knew from the personal experience of living with Jesus how important a living faith is. Even the in Old Testament it was written that the just shall live by faith. The disciples asked for more faith in Luke 17 and were told a parable (7-10) that almost seems to blow them off.
Luke 17:5-10 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye
might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and
be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you,
having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and
by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will
not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird
thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward
thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did
the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when
ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We
are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
If we take a look at faith I think we can see that there are things that God does and there are things we are supposed to do.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word
John 6:44a No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him
Hebrews 12:2a Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
Luke 7:9b I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in
Matthew 8:26a And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of
The Father creates in us something which leads us to Jesus (possibly a desire for truth). When we hear of Jesus (who is truth) we find faith (that in which we can trust). Faith can be measured as great or little. While Jesus originates our faith and completes it, we need to think about what we should do to make our faith stronger. Consider the rich young ruler;
Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and
sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man
heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great
Jesus didn't say, "Isn't it too bad God didn't give him more faith". Instead he said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. We know that riches can be a barrier to faith (since we live in the most prosperous time in history, this should also be a warning for us).
Jesus really can't give universal instruction for more faith because we all have different things to which we cling, (riches, retirement account, health, family, schooling, employment, social position, or plans for the future).
We do have an example of faith similar to a poker player who goes "all in".
Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have
forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Jesus is the example of perfect faith
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I
say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the
Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son
John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent
me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should
One might conclude that an increase in faith is our responsibility and is a result not so much of that which we acquire, but of that we relinquish.