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The Unjust Steward (Luke 16)

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Luke 16

The parable of the clever steward
And he said also to the disciples: There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused of wasting his goods. 2 And he called him and said to him: What is this that I hear of you? Render the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward. 3 And the steward said to himself: What shall I do, seeing that my master takes away the stewardship from me? I do not have strength to dig. To beg I am ashamed. 4 I have resolved what to do, so that when I am discharged as steward, others may receive me into their houses. 5 And calling to him each one of his master's debtors, he said to the first: How much do you owe my master? 6 And he said: A hundred measures of oil. And he said to him: Take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty. 7 Then said he to another: And how much do you owe? And he said: A hundred measures of wheat. He said to him: Take your bill and write eighty. 8 And his master commended the unrighteous steward, because he had done wisely. For the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light.
   9 And I say to you: Make to yourselves friends by means of worldly riches; that, when they shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
   10 He that is faithful in a very little, is faithful also in much, and he that is unrighteous in a very little, is unrighteous also in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the handling of worldly riches, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another's, who will give you that which is your own?
   13 No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else, he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
   14 And the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things; and they scoffed at him. 15 And he said to them: You are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
   16 The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man enters violently into it.
   17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall.
   18 Everyone that puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he that marries one that is put away from a husband commits adultery.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
   19 Now there was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, dining sumptuously every day. 20 And a certain beggar named Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died; and he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's breast, and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his breast. 24 And he cried and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said: Son, remember how you in your lifetime received your good things and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now here he is comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is fixed a great gulf, so that they that would pass from here to you cannot, and none may cross over from there to us. 27 And he said: Therefore I beg you father that you would send him to my father's house. 28 For I have five brothers. That he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 But Abraham said: They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them. 30 And he said: No father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, even if one rises from the dead.



16:10 All that we have been given by God, spiritually and materially, is “a very little”. Only a small portion of God is known by us (Job 26:14). So because we may correctly understand the Bible on some points, let’s not think that we have 100% truth about God or ‘know it all’.

16:11 How we handle wealth [whether we have to manage much or little of it] is proportionate to how we will eternally be in God’s Kingdom.

16:19 This is a parable, and isn’t to be taken literally.

16:23 This is a parody of Jewish beliefs. But those beliefs are in themselves wrong; the righteous don’t go to live in Abraham’s bosom; death is unconsciousness; the punishment for sin is death when Jesus returns, not torment in fire. Jesus used the wrong beliefs of the Jews against themselves. He spoke to people in their own terms.

16:31 The parables of Jesus often make their key point at the end; and it’s the same here. The point of the story is to show that even when Jesus rose from the dead, most of the Jews still wouldn’t believe. And that the witness of the written word in the Old Testament was and is as powerful as ‘seeing a miracle’ of a dead man coming to life.