Master - Come From God
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5. We are going to read from verse l:

Luke 5

1And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
4Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

I would like for us to notice particularly verse 5 of this paragraph:

Luke 5

5And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

By way of review, we have been studying the names of God as they are revealed in the Old Testament. We discovered that one of those names was Adonai , which was translated “Master,” and indicated in the translation of our Bibles by the word Lord , with the first letter capitalized. Then we said that that word Master particularly applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. When we transferred this study to the New Testament, we discovered that it took not just one word to describe the Lord Jesus Christ in relationship of Master to disciples, but it took five different words; and we have been examining those five different words in these particular lessons, recognizing that even though the English word Master is used in each instance, it is not the translation of the same word.

Our English word Master is a translation of five different Greek words, each of them with a particular meaning. We have already looked at the Greek word Kurios , which simply means “one who has authority.” It is the most general word that is used for the word Master and quite often you will find it translated by the word Lord .

Then we looked at the Greek word Despotes , from which we get our word despot , and we discovered that it meant “one who has absolute ownership,” “uncontrolled power.” Those of you who have studied history to any extent know that in the course of history, there have arisen on the stage of the world men who have been called benevolent despots . They have had uncontrolled authority. They were called benevolent in that they had the interests of their people at heart. Reverently, we discovered that our Lord Jesus was a benevolent Despot.

Then in our last lesson, we looked at the Greek word Kathegetes , which meant “a guide and companion,” one who not only points out the way, but walks by our side to be sure that we don't stumble as we travel that way.

These three words at which we have looked—Kurios , Despotes , and Kathegetes , are all translated by our English word Master . We have mentioned to you in the course of these studies that we believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible in the original text. We believe that each word was meticulously chosen by the Holy Spirit, so that there would be absolutely no mistake as to the meaning. In each particular incident, the Holy Spirit would choose the Greek word for Master that particularly fit the incident in question.

For example, the Holy Spirit would not be guilty of making the mistake of using the Greek word Kurios when He should use the Greek word Despotes . That may not seem like a great deal of difference and might not matter much to us today, but if we take the time to recognize the very careful meaning of these words, it can be a source of blessing.

Appointed Over All Things

We asked you to turn to chapter 5 of the Gospel of Luke and read this very interesting story that occurred on the lake of Gennesaret. You remember that the disciples had been fishing all night until they quit and began to work their nets. It might be wise for us to remember, in view of what we are going to say about the word Master , that these disciples were fishing in self-will. If you follow their story chronologically, you will discover that the Lord had already called them away from their nets, but things had gotten a little rough in the business of discipleship; things had become discouraging, and so they did what a lot of us do a great many times; they went back to the old ways of doing things because it was discouraging. They went back to their nets. They were expert fishermen and knew all of the good spots in the lake. They had fished all night long and had not caught one single fish.

They did not know the reason, but the reason was that they were fishing in self-will, not at the direction of the Master. So when the Lord Jesus Christ was through with His teaching in their boat, He didn't want to leave them in debt to Himself, because He never leaves Himself in debt to us at all. Never. Remember this: Whatever the Lord may use that belongs to us, He will pay us back many fold. He did use one of their boats for a pulpit, but he wasn't going to remain in their debt. You will notice in Luke 5, verses 4-5:

Luke 5

4Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5And Simon answering said unto him, [notice now] Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

That word Master is the translation of a Greek word at which we have not yet looked. It is the translation of the Greek word Epistates , of which this one word Master is a translation. It is actually made up of two words. One of them is a preposition, epi , which really means “above;” and the other is the Greek verb, stao . If you take this word Epistates and render it very literally, with the meaning of the two words side by side, it represents one who has been appointed over certain things. And so in many instances when the very literal translation is given, the word overseer is used. It makes a good word—overseer , “one who sees over things;” but literally, it is “one who has been appointed as being over certain things,” which fits in perfectly with what the Scripture has to say about the Lord Jesus Christ.

For purpose of illustration, turn in your Bibles to the first chapter of the Ephesian letter and notice verse 22. The Lord Jesus Christ has been given a place of authority:

Ephesians 1

22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

The Ephesian letter is dealing particularly with truths concerning the Church, and so the thing that is suggested here in the Ephesian letter is that He is the head over all things concerning the church, but for the purposes of our discussion, we are going to notice that He is the head over all things. He has been appointed the Overseer . He has been appointed as the One Who is the head over all things.

For further emphasis on this fact, turn to Hebrews, chapter 1, and you will notice, in the way that the Lord Jesus Christ is presented to us, that this same truth is emphasized. Hebrews, chapter l, verses 1-3:

Hebrews 1

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

Notice the phrase, “appointed heir of all things.” Notice, “upholding all things by the word of his power.” And so the Lord Jesus Christ is recognized particularly as the Overseer of things.

Go back to Luke, chapter 5, and just glance with me over what He was appointed the Overseer. This might seem almost ridiculous on the surface, but to me it is a wonderful truth. It reminds me that our God is interested in the little things. If we follow our line of reasoning, do you realize that according to chapter 5 of the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus Christ has been appointed the Overseer of even where the fish are in the lake. Now, that is a simple little thing, but it's true. Here they were fishing all night and finding nothing; and Peter, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the word Epistates . I'm not going to insist that Peter knew what he was saying, when he said it; I'm not going to insist that Peter sat down, and said, “Now let me see, shall I say Epistates , shall I say Kurios , shall I say Despotes ?” I'm not going to say that he said that. I'm going to say to you that the Holy Spirit, Who is the author of the Book, inspired Luke, when he wrote that, to use the word Epistates , which means “the one who oversees all things,” and therein lies a tremendous truth, it seems to me. Peter said, “Lord we have fished all night long and have caught absolutely nothing, nevertheless, at thy word [at the word of the One Who knows where the fish are, at the word of the One to Whom has been committed even the locating of the fish in the sea] we will let down the nets.” And they let down the nets and, as you know from the story, the nets were so full of fish that they had to get help to draw them in.

That brings a great deal of comfort to my heart because the Lord Jesus Christ is my Master. I have owned Him as such, and having owned the Lord Jesus Christ as my Master, I have every reason in the world to expect Him, Who is the Overseer of even where the fish are in the sea, to direct the casting of the rod so that the fish might be caught. I'm glad that I don't have to stumble about and wonder which way to go and how to do it. I'm glad that I can lift my eyes into the eyes of my Master and say, “Thou Who overseeth all things, Thou Who doth even know where the fish in the sea are, tell me on which side of the boat to cast, and I don't usually make a mistake.” How tragic it is if you haven't realized this! How tragic it is that there are people today who don't know on which side of the boat to cast, figuratively speaking, and don't know that there is anything that they can do about it! They just have to keep trying when all in the world they need to do is to talk to the Master Who knows where the fish are.

Authority Over the Elements

Turn, please, to chapter 8 of the Gospel of Luke. Before we are through with our discussion, you are going to find that the only place that we are going to look is in the Gospel of Luke, and the reason is that this particular word for Master (and this is another unique thing about it, to my mind) is used only in the Gospel of Luke and nowhere else in the whole Word of God.

In chapter 8, you will notice in verses 22-24:

Luke 8

22Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

Notice there in verse 24: “Master, Master.” What word is it? It is the word that we are thinking about, Epistates , “the one who has been appointed the Overseer of the waves.” You see, the Lord Jesus Christ has been appointed to have charge of the elements, and when the disciples realized that the elements were endangering their lives, they cried out for the One who had charge of the elements saying, “Do something!” He was able to do it because He is the One Who has been appointed to that very thing. Notice how accurate the Holy Spirit is. He didn't use the word Despotes , which means “benevolent despot.” He used “the One Who has charge of the elements” to do something about the waves.

It is wise for us to remember today that the waves lay down as little dogs at the command of Christ, because Christ was Who He was. If I were out on a boat and the waves were high, I might stand up in the boat, and say “Peace be still,” and fall out of the boat as a result, because I don't have charge of the waves. Those waves, if they could speak, might say to me as the demons said to a man who thought he had power and didn't have power, “Paul I know and Christ I know, but who are you?” Remember one time the Apostle Paul had cast out demons and there was a false prophet who saw it work and he said, “Why, it looks so easy. All Paul did was to say come out, and they came out.” So he thought that is a good money-making proposition. He had been making money by black magic, and so he came up against the demon-possessed person and said, “Come out of him.”, and the demon answered him and said “Well, I know Paul and his authority and I know Christ and His authority, but who are you? Who gave you the authority over us?” And they didn't come out of him and in turn so inspired the demon-possessed man that he nearly lost his life as a result.

The point I want to leave with you is that you and I may have no power over the elements, but we have a Master who does, and if we are yielded completely to Him, there is no reason in the world why we can't ask our Master to do something about the elements. I believe that if a child of God were in a storm at sea, he would have every right in the world to cry out, “Master, Master, we perish; do something,” and I believe that He would do it. I believe that if a child of God were in a path of a tornado and home and property were about to be swept away, he could go out and stand in the path of that tornado and threaten everything in the world, and the tornado would come right on. And I believe he could kneel down and say, “Master, this tornado is about to kill us; do something.”, and the Master would do it, because this is the One Who has been appointed Overseer of all things.

Overseer of All Power

In the same Gospel of Luke, chapter 8, verse 45, we notice another instance when this same word was used:

Luke 8

45And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
46And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
47And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
48And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

Notice in verse 45 the word Master . It's the translation of this one Greek word that we are speaking about in this lesson, Epistates , “the One Who is the Overseer of all things.” Notice the choice of the words of the Holy Spirit, when the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Who touched me?” Peter said, “Lord, what a strange question. Why, there is a crowd of people here. I suppose a hundred people have touched you. Why are you asking who touched you?” And Jesus said, “I'm not talking about that kind of touch. I am in charge of all of the power there is in the world, and I now recognize that some power has left me. Who touched me?” “Well, why do you ask, if you know so much?”

Let us remember that the Lord Jesus Christ asked many questions not for information, but for confession. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and they had sinned and Adam hid himself, God went down into the Garden in the cool of the day and said, “Adam, where art thou?” God knew. God is omniscient; He knows everything. He wanted Adam to say, “Lord, right here.” And when He asked this question, He wanted this woman to step forward and acknowledge that the power of God had changed her life.

Many times He has to treat us that way because we are recipients of His blessing repeatedly, and we who are recipients of His power so often acknowledge it so seldom. Sometimes He has to say, “Who touched me?”, not because He needs to know, but because He wants a testimony to be given and He who is the Overseer of all virtue—the word virtue here means “power”—is able to dispense it as He wills.

Look at this woman for a moment. She had spent all that she had in the hands of many physicians. This is not to criticize them; it is simply to indicate that she had come to the end of herself. There wasn't anything she hadn't tried. Every remedy that had ever been heard of she had tried, and nothing helped. Somehow she knew that there was power that could help her if she could just get in touch with the power.

Do you know that with all of our theological discussions in the hour in which we live, with all the phraseology of which we are greatly concerned, that is the simplest way we can put it. Whatever may be your need today, whether it is spiritual or physical, or mental or emotional—whatever it is—all that you need to do is get in touch with the Power, because the Power can revolutionize the life. And here it is—Master, the One who is the Overseer of all power, the One who has at His fingertips whatever is needed to change your life. He is your Master, and you don't need to go along wondering about things. All you need to do is cry out, “Master,” and He is ready to do something about it.

Turn, please, to Luke, chapter 9, keeping in mind that this word that we are looking at is found only in the Gospel of Luke and nowhere else in the Word of God. Notice chapter 9, verse 33, the incident that has already been referred to in our discussions. Peter said:

Luke 9

33And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

Notice the word Master . It is our same word Epistates . This is an incident that we commonly refer to as the transfiguration scene , when the Lord Jesus Christ was revealed truly as the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Holy Spirit chose this particular word, “The One Who is the Overseer of all things,” when Peter said, “Master, let's build here three tabernacles.” They had a vision of the glory of Christ, and they wanted to bask in that forever on the top of the mountain, but He Who had authority over all things, the Overseer of even the whole world, because the kingdoms of the world had been committed to His care, knew that there was something else to be done besides sitting on a mountain top.

Overseer of the Gospel

They went down the mountain busily engaged in service, but again, self-will pops up and the desires of men begin to assert themselves, so that it is difficult indeed for Christ to maintain His control over our lives. How many times do we call him Master and contradict our very language by our life?

Look here at chapter 9 of the Gospel of Luke, and notice verse 49:

Luke 9

49And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Do you notice the contradiction in the statement of John in this particular instance? Master is our word Epistates , “the One who has absolute authority over all things,” “the Overseer of even the way that the Gospel is to be preached.” “Master, we forbade.” How often we call him Master and still make our own decisions. How often we call him Master and still issue our own orders.

Had they been living according to their own words, they would have gone to Him and said, “Master, there is a man over here who is casting out demons, and he is not one of us. What do you want to do about it?” But, you see, they did not do that. With their lips, they acknowledged Him as Master; but with their minds, they were still in control of things, so they forbade. The Lord Jesus had to remind them of something that we are prone sometimes to forget—that He who is not against us is for us. All may not be said in the same way, and all may not be done in the same manner, but if they love our Lord, they might be a little bit slow in forbidding them to do the thing that they think they want to do.

Overseer of Hopeless Situations

The last thing that I would leave with you is that the last time this word is used in the Gospel of Luke—and incidentally, the last time it's used in the New Testament—is chapter 17 of the Gospel of Luke, a story to which reference has been made already:

Luke 17

11And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

These men had been striken with leprosy. That's a horrible disease. Keep in mind that in that particular day in which this incident occured, this was a hopeless disease. Whenever the Bible wants to speak of anything that is utterly hopeless, a reference to leprosy is made.

Here were ten men in an utterly hopeless situation, and one of them recognized that there was One who is equal to any hopeless situation. I don't think I would be doing anything amiss to say that the One about Whom I am speaking today is the Overseer of even the hopeless situation. He can handle that. And this One, Who is the Overseer of the hopeless situation was recognized by one who called out, “Jesus, Master, Epistates , do something,” and He did.


You may never have leprosy, and should you contact it, you will not be as hopeless as these people were, because in the providence of God, medical science has found a reasonable way of arresting it, but remember this: There will be other hopeless situations, and they don't need to remain that way. You have a Master Who is the Master of every hopeless situation; and instead of just throwing up your hands in despair, you go to Him and say, “Jesus, Master,” and He will do something for He never sends the hungry away empty.

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