Phoenix, Arizona USA
They begin to teach that you can keep back part of what you owe God. And the debtors love that message. The debtors love to have their ears tickled. The unjust steward recieves his reward here on earth. "For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light."
Jeff, thanks for expounding on this passage from Luke 16, I've never really been able to see an application for this parable before, but your thoughts shed some much needed light on the matter.
I have always had a hard time understanding verse 8a, "And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely". I don't believe that Jesus was commending the stewards dishonesty but it seems a little confusing to me to put that line in there. I'm curious as to others thoughts on that verse.
| 2005/6/1 14:24||Profile|
First think about what Jesus says about the intents and actions of the Pharisees who rejected Him.
Matt. 23:13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
Matt. 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Matt. 23:16 Woe to you, blind guides, who say, Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.
What is the substance for which the Pharisees hope, in what do they place their hope in?
| 2005/6/1 15:31||Profile|
Now focus on this particular thought.
Matt. 23:13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
Here Jesus says two things. First these shepherds are responsible for closing the door to those they minister to. How does the shepherd close the door? They choose not to go in and because of this decision, they also lead others in such a way that though others choose to enter, they do not go in.
Now listen to another teaching of Jesus.
John 10:1 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Jesus here teaches that the true shepherd must enter in and go before the sheep. Jesus warns that there are others who choose not to go through the door of the sheep pen but climb in by another way. These false shepherds are theives and robbers. Because they do not follow Christ, they cannot lead the sheep by His voice. For they themselves chose to stop following. They are the unjust steward. They were given the word of God, but over time they began to see where Jesus was leading them. They at some point choose to remain a hypocrite. They sense the truth up to the point they have walked with Jesus. Yet their own affections for this world becomes a stumbling block. At some time in their ministry God clearly says to them, you will no longer hear my words. These men realize this and then say to themselves, what shall I do? "I know, I will tickle the ears of those who have not yet fully submitted to following Christ." These sheep never hear the word of God as those who have gone in through the door of Christ. Instead they submit to the rule of man and the traditions of religion. They continue to live by the law not knowing the truth that would set them free from the bondage of the carnal mind.
So as Jesus condemned the shepherds in John chapter 10, so as Jesus condemned the shepherds in Matthew 23, so does Jesus condemn the unjust steward of Luke 16.
8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
Luke 16:9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another mans, who will give you what is your own?
These words that Jesus speaks to the unjust steward burns in their ears. His sarcasam bites the hearts of those who it speaks to. They know who they are because they had walked for a time but no longer. So what is left in this world for them? Mammon.
| 2005/6/1 17:57||Profile|