Vol. 19, No. 43 – November 8, 2020
13. Concerning God’s love for sinners, Luke 15:1-32.
c. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, vs. 11-31.
3) The resentful brother and insightful father, vs. 25-32.
Luke 15:32b, “For this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”
In this verse we are given three reasons why the older son should be rejoicing and celebrating.
1. “For this brother of yours,” in the Greek is HOTI, “because, since, for,” HOUTOS HO ADELPHOS SU. This is the father’s correction of the older brother’s previous disclaimer in vs. 30, of his family association with his younger brother. This alone should be enough emphasis for the older son to rejoice when his brother returned home. Once again, this is a reminder that all believers are part of the family of God whether Jews or Gentiles, Gal 3:28, and we are to have joy and celebrate when one repents.
2. “Was dead and has begun to live,” in the Greek is the Verb EIMI in the Imperfect, Active, Indicative, NEKROS, “dead,” KAI, “and,” with the Verb ZAO in the Ingressive Aorist, Active, Indicate, “has begun to live.” Some manuscripts have ANAZAO that was used in vs. 24, which is an intensification of ZAO. But here, it is just the root word ZAO, that means “to live, be alive, be well, or recover.” In vs. 24, the father was expressing his joy because his son had returned. Here, he is simply stating the case or the fact of the occurrence to his older son that his younger brother had repented, was restored to fellowship, and is actively part of the family once again, (i.e., he has begun to live again). This alone should be enough information for the older brother to rejoice and celebrate.
This is analogous to all repentant believers. Once we confess our sins to God, (i.e., Rebound, 1 John 1:9), we are “cleansed of all unrighteousness,” restored to fellowship with God, walk in the light once again, 1 John 1:7, and are filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, so that we can live in and execute the spiritual life. When we walked in sin, we cut ourselves off from God and could not live or execute the unique spiritual life He gave us. We were living experientially as if we were dead spiritually. But when we rebound, are we are restored and can now live the unique spiritual life that God has given to all believers. In others words, we live again experientially.
3. “And was lost and has been found,” in the Greek it is KAI, “and,” APOLLUMI in the Perfect, Active, Participle, Nominative, “destroyed, ruined, killed, lost, perished, put to death, etc.,” KAI HEURISKO in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative, “found, discovered, obtained, etc.” As in vs. 24, we have the double emphasis where “was dead,” equates to “was lost,” and “begun to live,” equates to “has been found.” “Dead and alive” emphasizes the action and status in relation to the son, while “lost and found” emphasizes the action and status in relation to the father.
Being lost, means you do not know where you are or what direction to head in. This is the reality of the believer who is walking in sin. They are in the darkness, without fellowship with God, and unable to apply their GPS, “God’s Power system,” to find their way. This means that when we are out of fellowship with God, we cannot apply His Word through the power of the filling of the Holy Spirit to our lives. If gone uncorrected through repentance, the confession of your sins, it will only lead to further sinning within our lives.
On the other side, we “have been found,” which uses the Passive voice for HEURISKO, “found,” which means this is the action we received. In other words, the younger son received the action of being found, (i.e., restored to fellowship by God). As we have noted previously in this parable, this too tells us that God meets us preemptively prior to and when we are on the road of recovery to give us all the resources necessary to have a full recovery from our sins and restoration to fellowship with Him. This is the grace of God for the wayward sinner.
APOLLUMI is the Verb that bridges the two idioms, as it can mean, “lost or killed,” and is the action that leads to being “dead,” NEKROS. Therefore, being lost in your spiritual walk is equivalent to being dead experientially in the spiritual life. When you are lost you cannot find your way. When you are dead, you can do nothing! Yet, here we see the recovery that God provides for the repentant wayward believer from being lost and dead in the spiritual life so that they are found and made alive experientially once again to live inside of God’s plan, care, and provision for their life.
This last example alone should have been enough information for the older brother to rejoice and celebrate, yet the father gave him three reasons to do so. As such, there is no excuse for not rejoicing and celebrating. Remember, according to the law, you need two or more witnesses to convict, Deut 17:6; 19:15. Because there are two, even three pieces of evidence here, the elder son is without excuse and guilty of sin.
Deut 17:6, “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.”
Deut 19:15, “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.”
In the double emphasis, the father is pleading with his older wayward son to understand the situation of his younger brother that should give him cause for rejoicing. The father was expressing the cause for his own joy in simple terms. For him, love was the stronger motivation over justice. Yet, for the self-righteous arrogant and angry older son, justice was more important than love. Therefore, the father was trying to persuade the older son, in the wisdom of God’s Word, to see what was most important; to have love. This is the message Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees regarding their attitude toward the Gentiles and other sinners within their own society.
Notice that the father did not deny the younger son’s sins or actions that might have had a negative affect toward him and his older son. He was simply focused on the fact that his boy was back home, the one he loved and had lost had returned! In like manner, our heavenly Father does not deny or make excuses for our sins and their negative affect upon Him, yet He knows that justice has already been served regarding our sin in the person of His Son Jesus Christ upon the Cross. So, now the only issue is, “are we living in fellowship with Him or are we not.” When we live in fellowship with Him He rejoices, when we do not He is grieved. Therefore, because justice has been served at the Cross of Jesus Christ, the issue for the Pharisees and us today is “love.”
Gal 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.”
James 2:8, “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”
Luke 10:27, “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself”.”
Rom 13:8-10, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Jesus did not tell them, or us, what the final reaction was of the older brother, because He had made His point. The point is, serving God involves more than slavish adherence to a legal code, it includes love for one’s brothers and sister, (i.e., fellow man). We have no right to be self-righteous and have self-pity when it comes to the love and blessings of God towards others. We have no right to be upset at another man’s good fortune. Instead, we are to rejoice in the blessings God has for others, especially when they repent from their sins and enter back into fellowship with God. As John stated in the opening of his letter to the early church in 1 John 1:4, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” And in 1 John 1:7a, “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…”
This type of love is what the Pharisees were lacking that Jesus so desperately wanted them to realize, so that they too, like their sinful Gentile, prostituting, or tax-collecting brothers and sisters, would repent of their sins and enter back into fellowship with God. This is the lesson for us too. If we have sinned, we need to repent of our sins and confess them to God, so that we are entered back into fellowship with Him and with others, where we can once again love them as we should, cf. 1 John 2:5, 9-10.
1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
1 John 2:9-10, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”
“If you are the son who went away to a far country, you can come back to the Father by confessing your sins to Him. Perhaps you are like the elder son who was out of fellowship. He had no concern or love for his brother. He thought he was serving God; he had never transgressed as his brother had. Yet he had never enjoyed a feast with his friends. The Father says to you, “All that I have is thine.” How wonderful to have a Father like this!
Sinner friend, if you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are not the Father’s son. You can become a son only by putting your faith and trust in Christ who died for you. If you accept Christ and come to Him, God becomes your Father and He will never throw you overboard. If you leave Him and one day return, He will be waiting to put His arms around you. How wonderful He is!” (Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee).
“Interestingly, I rarely encounter people who see themselves reflected in the older son. Almost everyone identifies with the prodigal’s need for grace, and they long for the father’s response to their sinful, selfish wanderings. As Christians mature, they often identify with the father as they must learn to forgive deep hurts caused by estranged loved ones. But only a rare few recognize that they, too, share the older son’s arrogant sense of entitlement. In truth, we play all three parts. We are foolish sinners in need of God’s forgiveness, and we owe many apologies to the people we have harmed and hurt. We also know many people who need our forgiveness. The father’s example calls us to extend grace to others with eagerness and to restore them as quickly as wisdom allows. But let’s not overlook the ugly reality that lurking in the shadows of every heart is the sulking older brother who feels entitled to just rewards for good deeds. We resent trials when we feel like we have been so faithful. We consider grace an entitlement, and we dispense justice like it’s our right. How seldom do we rejoice when others rejoice! How suspicious we can be of another’s repentance! Beware the pointing finger of the older brother. The finger is yours, and it invariably points to everything resembling yourself.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary).
Two Rebels, One Repentance
“The parable of the Prodigal Son tells the story of two rebellious sons, not just one. Whereas one sinned openly, the other maintained a respectable façade to conceal his prideful, selfish, condemning nature. Both needed to seek the forgiveness of the father, albeit from different sides. Therefore, I find two principles at work to help guide the actions of those who love wayward sinners.
First, detestable rebels must face the painful reality of their insanity before they will repent. For those of us who love a detestable rebel, patience is key. We can nag, pressure, cajole, beg, or bribe, but that simply distracts them from the truth they need to face. Instead, without adding to their burden, we must allow the consequences of their sin to crush their foolishness. And then, when the detestable rebel is ready, we must receive them in grace.
Second, respectable rebels must face the awful ugliness of their pride before they can repent. For those of us who love a respectable rebel, courage is key. We must be willing to say what needs to be said, regardless of the backlash or the manipulation or the browbeating. And while they don’t appear to hear the painful truth of their pride, our words—wrapped in love—can become tools in the hands of the Holy Spirit to crack the defensive barrier they have erected around their sin. And when respectable rebels are ready to repent, we must show them tenderness.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary.)
Just as the Prodigal Son had died and come to life again, was lost and had been found, so too did our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ experience these things on our behalf once and for all time, so that we who were dead could come to life; we who were lost could be found. As such, Jesus Christ died and lived again in order to be Lord over both the dead and the living. Here the fullest sense of “re-life” is conveyed, Acts 2:24; 5:30; Rom 6:4, 9; 8:11; 14:9; Rev 1:18; 2:8.
Rom 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
Rev 1:18, “And the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”
Rev 2:8, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this.”
Rom 6:9, “Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.”
Acts 2:24, “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
Acts 5:30, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Rom 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 16
Outline of the Book:
I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
IV. The Repudiation of the Son of Man by Men, Luke 9:51-19:27.
I. Instruction in the Light of Rejection, Luke 12:1-19:27.
14. Concerning wealth, Luke 16:1-31.
a. The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-9.
b. Principles on the righteous treatment of wealth, vs. 10-13.
c. Rebuke of the Pharisees’ love of money, vs. 14-18.
d. The rich man and Lazarus, vs. 19-32.
14. Concerning wealth, Luke 16:1-31.
In this Chapter, we have four main sections; The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-8; Principles on the righteous treatment of wealth, vs. 9-13; Rebuke of the Pharisees love of money, vs. 14-18; The rich man and Lazarus, vs. 19-32. The theme that ties them together is, “Overcoming temptation with faith.” They are also an image of the need for disciples to be wise and generous with the resources God has given them. Beginning with the parable of the unjust manager, Jesus is calling for faithfulness and wisdom in handling money, followed by a series of exhortations that emphasize various points related to it. Then a shorter section rebukes the attitude of the Pharisees and declares the arrival of a new era, which although new, does not change the ethical standards that God requires. Then, we are given the story of the rich man and Lazarus that emphasizes the eternal results of unfaithfulness, which is demonstrated by one’s unrighteous behaviors regarding wealth here on earth, versus faithfulness. The whole point is that Christ’s followers, unlike the Pharisees, should not be lovers of money.
a. The unrighteous steward, vs. 1-9.
This first section uses a negative scenario to emphasize the positive. We will see that it is first a rebuke against the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and ours as well, yet, it uses the negative to teach a positive position. As such:
Vs. 1-4, deal with not gossiping, slandering, or maligning others. Yet, if we are the recipient of it we are to trust in God and not ourselves.
Vs. 5-8, deal with personal faith.
Vs. 9, deals with the point that good stewards must be shrewd.
Vs. 1-4, deal with not gossiping, slandering or maligning others, yet if we are the recipient of it, we are to trust in God and not ourselves. There are three parts to this in analogy to the Pharisees, and all who reject God’s plan:
- The warning for mishandling God’s gracious privileges and responsibilities, vs. 1-2.
- The error of taking matters into your own hands rather than trusting in God, vs. 3.
- Falsely trying to secure your eternal blessings, vs. 4.
In Chapter 16, we have two storylines that are only recorded in Luke’s Gospel, just as the previous three parables of the lost sheep, coin, and sons of Luke 15, are only found in Luke’s Gospel.
1. The warning for mishandling God’s gracious privileges and responsibilities, vs. 1-2.
Luke 16:1, “Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.”
Jesus is addressing His “disciples,” MATHETES, once again with a parable, and later will address the Pharisees. He once again was using the analogy of a “rich man” PLOUSIOS ANTHROPOS, as in Luke 12:16, but also that of a “manager,” OIKONOMOS that means, “a manager of a household or steward.” Here, the steward was “reported,” using the verb DIABALLO, which is only used here in the NT, that means, “slandered or accused.” Lexicons disagree on whether this was a false accusation or just simply an accusation against him. Whether a true or false accusation, it appears it was done maliciously. In either case, today we might say using the idiom, “he was thrown under the bus.” The accusation against him was that he was “squandering,” DIASKORPIZO, “scattering, dispersing, wasting, etc.,” (just as the Prodigal son did in Luke 15:13), his boss’ “possessions,” HUPARCHO. So, we see a malicious accusation that is brought against this man.
Luke 16:2, “And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager’.”
When his boss “heard,” AKOUO, about the accusation, he asked him to “give an accounting,” APODIDOMI HO LOGOS, (give a statement or declaration) “of your management,” OIKONOMIA, “stewardship, administration, or management.” This word is used here three times, vs. 2-4. Paul uses it to describe his God given ministry, 1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25. It is also used to identify the various dispensations of human history that God created for the administration of His Plan, Eph 1:10; 3:9; 1 Tim 1:4. Here, it is used literally for the management of his boss’ business or estate, where the boss asks for the books to be brought up to date, accounted for, and reconciled.
Next, it appears some things might have happened in between, or that the boss believed the accusations against the manager without any evidence because the boss, “the rich man,” jumps right to firing this manager, “for you can no longer be manager,” GAR DUNAMAI OUK ETI OIKONOMEO.
In Jewish law and society, this would have been an illegal thing to do, because there was apparently only one piece of evidence. The Law of Moses taught that you need two or three pieces of evidence to convict someone, Deut 17:6; 19:15, as we noted in Luke 15:32.
Therefore, we see that the worker was accused of mismanagement and the boss asks him to reconcile the accounts and then leave.
2. The error of taking matters into your own hands rather than trusting in God, vs. 3.
This is the beginning of operation Human Good works.
Luke 16:3, “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; I am ashamed to beg’.”
Just like the Prodigal son did, this steward takes matters into his own hands, i.e., Operation Human Good.
Knowing that he was about to be fired, the manager takes some action to save his own skin, as it were, “What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me?” Here, he recognizes his boss as being His “master,” KURIOS, “supreme controller, owner, lord, master, etc.,” and that He is taking away his management responsibilities, APHAIREO, “take away, cut off, or remove,” with OIKONOMIA.
This is a veiled warning from our Lord that the Pharisees were about to lose their position of leadership over the dissemination of the worship of God.
The steward also takes recognition that he is incapable of doing anything else, “I am not strong enough to dig,” OUK ISCHOU, where the emphasis is a lack of power he truly possessed, with SKAPTO, “to dig,” one of the hardest lines of work. SKAPTO also emphasizes cultivating and planting seed, so we see witnessing and evangelizing by analogy. The Pharisees could not do this on their own. In addition, he recognized, “I am ashamed to beg,” AISCHUNO EPAITEO. In other words, the Pharisees did not have the fortitude to lower themselves; they did have humility of soul; they did have the strength to serve on their own and they did not have the requisite humility.
By analogy, we always must operate under the power and strength of God to execute the Christian way of life, and possess great humility.
3. Falsely trying to secure your eternal blessings, vs. 4.
Luke 16:4, “‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes’.”
“I know what I shall do,” tells us he devised a plan to try to win the good graces of the people so that when he is removed from his job, he will have a place to land. Therefore, his big plan is to “win the people over” so that they will be gracious towards him once he is out of a job, “the people will welcome me into their homes.” He uses the Verb DECHOMAI in the Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive, Third person, Plural that means, “They might receive, accept, or approve,” EGO, “me,” EIS, “into,” AUTO, “their,” HO OIKOS, “homes.”
Therefore, his solution was to “suck up” to the people and try to win them over, rather than turning to God in repentance. This is the analogy of the Pharisees trying to persuade the people to accept them rather than turn to God in repentance. As such, this is a works for salvation program, which does not save anyone. He was trying to save himself rather than accepting God’s plan of Salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ, just like the Pharisees were doing.
On another note, this part shows what can happen to someone when they are gossiped about, maligned, slandered, falsely accused, etc. It can have a detrimental effect on their lives. Therefore, we should not gossip about, malign, or slander anyone. In addition, if we are the recipient of gossiping, maligning or slander, we are to trust in God to provide a solution rather than trusting in ourselves to solve our problems. Remember, God has 11 Problem Solving Devices (PSDs) that we are to have within our souls, ready to be deployed when any outward or inward attack or temptation tries to take us over. They include:
- Naming your sins to God the Father, (Repentance / Rebound), Psa 32:5; 1 John 1:9.
- Filling of God the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 16:12-14; Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16.
- Faith Rest Drill, Psa 37:4-5; Rom 4:20; Heb 4:1-3.
- Doctrinal Orientation, Heb 11:1; 1 Thes 4:13.
- Grace Orientation, Eph 2:8-9; 3:20; 2 Cor 12:9.
- Authority Orientation, Rom 13:1-7; Eph 5:21-24; Titus 3:1-2.
- Personal Sense of Destiny, Eph 3:16; Phil 4:19; Rom 9:23.
- Personal Love for God the Father, Rom 5:5; 8:28; 1 John 4:19.
- Impersonal, Unconditional Love for Mankind, John 3:16; 15:12-17; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; 1 John 3:23.
- Sharing the Happiness of God (+H), Prov 3:13; John 15:11.
- Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 2:1-20; Eph 3:17; 1 Peter 1:8.
Vs. 5-8, deal with personal faith.
In this negative scenario, the steward puts his plan into action to solve his problem on his own, rather than turning to and trusting in God.
Luke 16:5, “And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’”
“He summoned,” PROSKALEOMAI, προσκαλέομαι, “summon, call to oneself, or invite,” “each one,” HEKASTOS HEIS, “of his master’s debtors,” HO HEAUTOU KURIOS HO CHREOPHEILETES. CHREOPHEILETES is only used here and Luke 7:41. It is made up from CHREOS, “debt,” and OPHEILETES, “one who owes.” Therefore, it means, “the one who owes a debt.”
In Luke 7:41, Jesus used it to teach on forgiveness, which He taught Simon the Pharisee. Here, Jesus used it to also teach about forgiveness of debt. In both, we see a sense of mercy on the part of the one who forgave the debt, as well as a sense of relief for the one forgiven. Therefore, if the Pharisees would have a heart of forgiveness then they too would be forgiven.
“And he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’” This uses the root of the previous word which is the Verb OPHEILO that means, “owe or indebted,” with KURIOS for “lord or master.” This represents the indebtedness we have to God for our sins.
Luke 16:6, “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty’.”
“A hundred measures of oil,” is HEKATON BATOS ELAION. BATOS means “bath,” which was a Hebrew liquid measure. It is only used here in the NT. It is approximately equal to one-tenth of a homer, about 6 gallons, or 22 liters. ELAION means, “olive oil.”
“‘Take your bill,” DECHOMAI, in the Imperative mood of command, GRAMMA, “and sit down quickly,” KAI KATHIZO TACHEOS, “and write fifty’,” GRAPHO PENTEKONTA. This “50” in the Greek might just mean a round number. So, this might have been a way to simply say round it down, or maybe it is the precise amount. Fifty is the number of jubilee or deliverance. It is made up of 5, the number of grace, multiplied by 10, the number of perfect order. So, we see the perfect order of grace in this situation, in the forgiveness of the debt.
Luke 16:7, “Then he said 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’.”
This time the steward only asks, “how much do you owe,” using POSOS and OPHEILO for “owe or indebted.” This person owed “A hundred measures of wheat,” HEKATON KOROS SITOS. KOROS means, “Kor, or a measure.” It too is only used here in the NT. KOROS of the NT is the Greek adaptation of the Hebrew word KOR, which represents the largest dry measure used by the Jews. A KOR equaled a “homer,” the Hebrew word for donkey; hence, originally, a “donkey load.” The same as 10 ephahs, cf. Ezek 45:11. As such the HOMER/KOR equaled about 10 bushels, a little over 48 gallons, or 220 liters.
This time the steward only commands them to “take your bill and write eighty,” DECHOMAI SU OH GRAMMA KAI GRAPHO OGDOEKONTA. ODGOEKONTA is only used by itself here in the NT. It is from OKTO, eight.” It is also in the number 84, in Luke 2:37, which was the age or years of widowhood, of Anna the widowed prophetess who received the baby Jesus and His parents in the temple. Eighty is made up of 8, the number of new beginnings and resurrection, times 10, the perfect order. Therefore, the number 80 represents the perfect order in new beginnings. As 50 represented the perfect order of grace in the forgiveness of debt/sin, 80 represents the perfect order of new beginnings aspect, as a result of the forgiveness of debt/sin. Therefore, we see cleansing with new beginnings in these two scenarios.
Luke 16:8, “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.”
When “his master,” KURIOS found out what he had done, he “praised him,” EPAINEO, “to praise, approve or give a public mark of esteem,” used also in Rom 15:11; 1 Cor 11:2, 17, 22. Therefore, his master praised his forgiveness and restorations.
Here the “steward,” OIKONOMOS, is called “unrighteous,” ADIKIA, “injustice, wrong, wickedness, wrongdoing, unjust.” This has given thought that the accusations against the steward were correct, but it just might be a continuation of the thought of the slander brought against him.
The reason he was praised by his master was “because he had acted shrewdly,” HOTIS POIEO PHROMINOS. PHRONIMOS is the adverbial form of the Adjective PHRONIMOS, “prudent, sensible.”
Bertram writes, “Cleverly resolute action is imposed by the hopelessness of the situation and the resultant urgency. In acting as he does, even the worldly man can be a model for the children of light,” (“PHREN,” Kittel, 9:234).
Then Jesus makes a statement in regard to the people of His day, “For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.” Here the Adjective PHRONIMOS is used for “shrewd.”
Our Lord is saying in the parable that the everyday person is wiser than the way the Israelites are acting towards one another. In this worldly scenario, the steward was doing things to benefit himself. He was forgiving debt/sin. But, for the Israelites, especially the Pharisees they were not forgiving the sins of others and operating out of selfishness from their self-righteous, legalistic, arrogance.
Therefore, we are commanded to be shrewd in our dealings with the unbelievers of this world to win them over for Christ. Not in a sinful way though!
Luke 16:9, “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.”
“Make friends,” POIEO PHILOS is the command from our Lord here. The means to do so is “by the wealth of unrighteousness,” EK HO MAMMONAS, “wealth or property,” also in Mat 6:24; Luke 16:11, 13. This type of wealth is “of unrighteousness,” HO ADIKIA. This seems like an odd thing for the Lord to say, given what comes later in vs. 11, 13. But this is a principle by analogy. In other words, we are to be like Paul stated when trying to witness to the unbelievers of the world in 1 Cor 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”
This does not mean we use sin to court the sinner, or that we flatter or manipulate to achieve the goal of greater good. It simply is an analogy of someone in the world’s way of doing things that were shrewd, as an example of the shrewdness a believer must have to win the unbeliever.
The analogy continues by saying, “so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” When the wealth of others fails, EKLEIPO, “ceases, fails, dies off, or come to an end,” “They will receive you” uses the Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive of the Verb DECHOMAI, “receive,” with AIONIOS SKENE, i.e., an “eternal tabernacle, tent, booth, or dwelling.” This is speaking of the worldly unbeliever. But as you know, they cannot give you or anyone else an eternal dwelling. Only God can give anyone an eternal abode. So once again we see the worldly analogy, this time of securing an eternal dwelling place for yourself. In the steward’s case, it would be a worldly one, which in actuality is the Lake of Fire.
Therefore, by analogy, our Lord is saying here, “Forgive the sins of others, (in the perfect order of grace), just as God has forgiven you, and you will have a perfect order of new beginning / resurrection, as you dwell in your eternal abode given to you by God. Therefore, we see the worldly analogy that Jesus is using, (speaking in their own terms since they were worldly people), to make the point of what they should be doing in the reality of the spiritual life.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-117 & 20-118 & 20-119
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!