Luke 16:1-18 … A PARABLE ABOUT LAYING A FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE.
Q.1. Why did the master of the careless steward commend him? What point was Jesus driving home? – (Lk.16:1-9) =
Q.2. What challenge did Jesus leave for those that serve Him? How did the Pharisees respond to Him? Why? – (Lk.16:10-15) =
Q.3. In what way does the gospel complete the message of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets? – (Lk.16:16-18) =
The Parable of the Dishonest Manager
16 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures[a] of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures[b] of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[c] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,[d] so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which 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 he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
The Law and the Kingdom of God
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before 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; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[e] 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.
Divorce and Remarriage
18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
Q.1. Why did the master of the careless steward commend him? What point was Jesus driving home? – (Lk.16:1-9) = When the rich man realised that his manager had been squandering his possessions, he asked for the records of his dealings telling him he was to be dismissed (Lk.16:1-2). But even he could see the shrewdness of his servant’s dishonesty in building up some creditors that would be beholden to him in his time of need (Lk.16:3-7). The master commended the dishonest steward’s shrewdness acknowledging that – the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light (Lk.16:8). Jesus makes the point that if this steward prepared for his future on earth, how much more should believers use their wealth to build treasure in heaven – And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings (Lk.16:9).
Q.2. What challenge did Jesus leave for those that serve Him? How did the Pharisees respond to Him? Why? – (Lk.16:10-15) = Jesus indicates that there is an eternity of reward awaiting His faithful servants on earth (c.f. Mt.19:28). These blessings will be entrusted to those that have acted as faithful stewards. However, we need to have the right perspective when it comes to wealth (Lk.16:10-12). Wealth is a means provided by God to serve Him. Yet it is difficult to keep the balance when you have plenty – No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Lk.16:13). You can use wealth to advance God’s kingdom but must avoid trusting in riches lest these material blessings turn into a curse. The Pharisees loved their wealth and scoffed at Jesus who told them – You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; For what is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God (Lk.16:15).
Q.3. In what way does the gospel complete the message of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets? – (Lk.16:16-18) = The Pharisees had completely missed the point of the Law and the Prophets that pointed to Christ and the sinner’s need of the Saviour (c.f. Lk.24:44; Gal.3:23-25). It held sway until John the Baptist preached the need for repentance as the prelude for the coming of the Saviour (c.f. Mt.3:7-9; Lk.3:3 & 16). Since then many had forced their way into the kingdom in response to the preaching of the gospel. Why forced? Because people had to embrace Christ despite the confusion caused by His rejection by the religious leaders (Lk.16:14 c.f. Lk.5:27-32; 12:49-51; Jn.9:22). The gospel does not dismiss the Law but fulfils and supersedes it. As Jesus declared – But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail (Lk.16:17). He warned that marriage was intended to be permanent (Lk16:18). The gospel does not cancel out these laws but will be the means of many turning in repentance to the Saviour (c.f. 1 Tim.1:8-11).
(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
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