Study Questions – Parables #2

Kyle Bartholic   -  

A  Good Father vs. Unworthy Servants

Matthew 7:9-11 & Luke 17:7-10

INTRODUCTION:  As we explored last week, the power of parables as a teaching device is in their corrective nature. In other words, the intent of a parable is to correct distorted vision. And Jesus uses them to do just that. One of the repeated themes he addresses in his parables is that of the importance of servanthood in the Kingdom. In the parable of the unworthy servants, Jesus gets his audience to agree with the known dynamic of the master/servant relationship in the first century. No servant would have considered himself to be more important than the master and vice-versa. Crucially, Jesus did not endorse the broken and distorted dynamic they experienced but used it to open the hearts of his listener to something better, the value of humility. He reminds them and us that we are the unworthy servants and God is our master. In order to be a servant, we must embrace the value of humility so that we can have a proper view of ourselves and of God. But, we also turn to Jesus’ teaching to understand the nature of the Father, and what do we find? That he is not a demanding or unrelenting master, no; instead, he is a good father who is abundantly kind and good. In fact, it is the Father and the Son who embody the fullness of radical servanthood. And so, we are to ask, are we following their example or the example of the world? Is it better to be served or to serve? Jesus will press us to the second one. It is indeed better to serve. And, if we want to embrace that truth, we will need to make humility a priority. Radical servanthood is a marker of the humble.


GETTING STARTED – As you begin your group time, talk about an example of servanthood that embodied the value of humility. Values are things that are often caught, not taught. In that, we incorporate them into our lives through examples and not just lectures or information. Who has been an example of humble servanthood for you?


IN THE WORD –   Let’s dig back into the passage. It is important to strengthen our muscles in reading God’s Word. On Sunday, we walked through the passage in the sermon. Hopefully, that helped you to see the landmarks of the passage with fresh eyes. Now, with your group, go back through it and see what God is saying to you specifically.

First, before you read the passage, take a moment to ask God’s Spirit to quiet your mind and heart and to illuminate the text to you. Second, read the passage aloud to the group. Then, follow the simple method below. (O.P.A)

Observe: Make 8-10 observations from the passage. Pay close attention to observe and note repeated words and phrases, names, places, and themes.



Principles: From your list of observations, what patterns or big ideas do you see emerging? Can you distill it down into 2-4 big idea truths?



Apply: Moving from your list of principles, it is time to apply God’s Word. Remember, we believe that God’s Word is living and active and that it can change the way we live Monday- Friday. What is one tangible way to apply a truth from your list above?