Revelations from the Word

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Lord, increase our faith!

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"And the apostles said to the Lord [kurios], Increase our faith. So the Lord said, If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea', and it would obey [hupokouo] you. And which of you, having a servant ploughing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and serve me till I have eaten and drunk; afterwards you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were required of him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded to do, say, 'We are unprofitable [achreios] servants [doulos, slave], we have done what was our duty to do' " (Luke 17:5-10).

At the time of Jesus, the lord [kurios] was the owner of slaves [doulos] that he had bought; he had the right of life and death over them. This explains why these slaves had to be fully obedient to their master without waiting for any kind of gratitude in return on his part. The Greek word achreios means 'unnecessary', one can do without; this also applied to the slave of the parable of the talents who had not made the talent he received fruitful (Matthew 25:30).

So, when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, He answered them in such a way that they would put themselves in the position of the lord: "Which of you has a slave…?". He then says to His disciples, "Act as if you were the lord: you have authority over your slave; you have the right of life and death over your slave; you must expect total obedience". Faith is not a question of amount for it is sufficient to have a faith like a tiny mustard seed in order to see things happen. But it is a question of authority as was the case of the centurion who asked Jesus to simply say a word so that his servant might be healed (Matthew 8:5-10).

The verb hupakouo means 'to lend an ear', to listen submissively, to submit with a view to obeying. Jesus said to His disciples, "With My authority (Lord), say to this sycamore or to this mountain (Matthew 21:21): Throw yourself into the sea; and it will have no other choice but to obey totally and throw itself into the sea". The sycamore [sukaminos] is a tree that has the shape and foliage of the mulberry tree whose fruit resembles the fig [sukon]. The word sukon also means 'tumour'; we can order the illness (or tumor) to leave our body and jump into the sea. The exercise of faith is therefore the putting into practice of the authority we have received from the Lord Jesus Christ; it must have no compliance with the enemy or sickness. In the name of Jesus Christ, we have authority over all things (Psalm 8:6-8) and over all our enemies, "Rule in the midst of your enemies" (Psalm 110:2).