The BELIEVER’s stewardship over material resources (Verses 10-11).
The shrewd actions of the unrighteous steward (Verses 1-8).
Use material resources wisely to promote social benefit (Verses 9-13).
Rebuke of the religious leaders: Verses 14-18.
The story is quite clear. (NASB)
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.
"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.'
"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.
'I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people
will welcome me into their homes.'
"And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he began saying to the
first, 'How much do you owe my master ?'
"And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your
bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'
"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.'
"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.
master commended the “shrewdness” of the steward - not the dishonesty.
This would often be done even by “righteous” ones as they observe the
cleverness and resourcefulness of someone. A good example is when we might be
impressed with the clever way that someone pulled off a particular robbery -
although, certainly not be pleased with the crime itself.
uses the incident to illustrate that SMART actions are necessary to deal with
the many twists and turns of life here on earth. He is not advocating
dishonesty or an inordinate occupation with material things. But he is saying
that we should manage our material resources wisely so that they are used for
the maximum benefit of our families and the society in which we live.
Jesus will LAUNCH from this story and teach several COMMON-SENSE "proverbial"
truths and principles that relate more to our earthly life than to our future
"for the sons of this age are wiser than the sons of light concerning their
“sons” live in the same generation. They both live in the same time sphere and
both must operate according to the same societal and economic protocol that
governs all the people.
PRINCIPLE: It is usual for the unbelievers to be more
wise (clever) in managing material resources than are the believers (sons of
"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
9 is a little tricky.
The NASB reads, “make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of
Make friends indicates to treat others properly, kindly, fairly.
It probably refers to dealing with unbelievers. Verse 8 states that unbeliever
usually has more "worldly" wisdom in dealing with the material things of this
life than the believer has.
The mammon of unrighteousness refers to material things (time, energy,
resources) that are limited to this earthly sphere. The use of the term
unrighteousness simply indicates that which has a “material” focus rather than
a spiritual focus. It does not mean that the things are in some way sinful.
When it fails: this is an aorist active subjunctive of ekleipo in the
SINGULAR. It refers to the time when you might suffer a deficiency of the
material things; when you are without food and shelter. The singular subject
is mammon, not a person.
verb is used only by Luke (16:9; 22:32; 23:45 ) and in the quote from the Old
Testament at Hebrews 1:2.
The ones you helped, are probably UNBELIEVERS. I suggest this because if they
were believers, they would HELP the needy believer out of Christian charity
rather than out of any “repayment” factor.
the unbelievers who are helped by the believer, would be more inclined to “pay
back” the generosity by giving food and shelter when needed.
“everlasting” dwellings refers to PERPETUAL assistance by providing food and
shelter for the rest of your life, or for AS LONG as needed.
use of the adjective, aōnios (everlasting, eternal, perpetual) is used in this
way outside the Bible.
later poetry and prose aōnios is also used in the sense of ‘lifelong’ or
‘enduring,’ in accordance with the basic meaning of aiōn.” (Theological
Dictionary of the New Testament; Edited by G. Kitttel; Eerdmans, 1973, page
perhaps used this way at Philemon 15-16.
”For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for awhile, so that you
should have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a
The more popular understanding for this verse is that advocated by most
commentators. I.E., that if the believer helps OTHER BELIEVERS with material
things, then when they die and you die, you will be happily welcomed by these
friends into eternal dwellings “in heaven.”
don’t prefer this interpretation.
1. The language does not appear to be speaking of eternal reward as at Matthew
19:21; Luke 11:41 and 12:33.
It seems that the NATURAL understanding is that, in an EARTHLY context, if you
use your material resources wisely to help others, then when you are in need,
others will help you.
Jesus tells us to MAKE FRIENDS. Surely this is not something that needs to be
so actively “pursued” with fellow BELIEVERS. But it would certainly be
something that is needed with the unbelievers, who usually do not think too
favorably toward Christians.
phrase, “when it fails,” refers to the singular noun, mamōnas. It indicates
that the believer’s material resources have been depleted and he is in need of
assistance from others. There is no hint of anyone DYING here.
reference in verse 8 to, “the sons of this AGE” (aiōn), seems to relate
directly to “perpetual” (aōnios).
In other words, the sons of this age are able to provide for the needy
believer “this age’s” dwellings.
PRINCIPLE: When you are generous toward others when they
are in need, those people are more likely to be generous toward you when you
are in need.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he
who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
describes the basic HABIT of one’s character related to financial issues.
A person is characterized in general by how he lives and what he does.
If a person is dishonest (unrighteous) in one area of life, is quite likely to
be dishonest in other areas of life.
PRINCIPLE: A pattern that is evidenced in reference to
handling minor things of this life, will probably be the same pattern that is
practiced in reference to everything else.
"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who
will entrust the true riches to you?
of “unrighteous” wealth is not suggesting that these material things are in
some way to be considered sinful or evil. As in verse 9, the contrast is
simply between “spiritual” things and earthly things.
PRINCIPLE: A person who fails to properly manage minor
things will not be entrusted by others to manage major things.
big question at this point is the significance of the term, “the true riches.”
Verse 12 seems to suggest that these “true riches” are the ones that belong
personally to you. In other words, the TRUE riches are of course, those
things that you can claim as your own personal possession. But the focus here
is on someone GIVING you those “true riches” that are “your own.”
not seem to be something of a “spiritual” nature that GOD is giving. Otherwise
Jesus would indicate it as such instead of saying IMPERSONALLY, “who will
entrust to you.”
"And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who
will give you that which is your own?
seems that Jesus is simply giving some proverbial type wisdom to the disciples
rather than trying to contrast SPIRITUAL things with earthly things. We are to
be responsible with the things of others so that we can be disciplined and
wise in managing our own possessions.
PRINCIPLE: If we manage the material resources of others
wisely and generously, opportunity will be given us to possess and manage our
These last two principles are
stated in a question format and have an “earthly” focus as it is recorded by
Luke. A similar principle was taught in a different parable as recorded by
Matthew at Matthew 25:14-30 (See Commentary).
But there, Jesus gave a clear “salvation” application.
master said to him, 'Well
done, good and
slave. You were faithful with a few
things, I will
put you in charge
of many things;
enter into the joy of your
"Also the one
who had received the two
came up and said,
'Master, you entrusted
two talents to me. See, I have
gained two more
"His master said to him,
'Well done, good
slave. You were faithful with a few
things, I will put you in
charge of many
things; enter into the joy
of your master.'
"For to everyone who has, more
shall be given, and he will have
an abundance; but from the one who does not
have, even what
he does have shall be taken
"Throw out the worthless
slave into the outer
darkness; in that place
there will be weeping and
gnashing of teeth.
"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."
Jesus taught this same principle at Mathew 6:24 in a context that deals more
specifically with priorities. But here too, as the issues of managing ones
material things is discussed, the priority of serving God rather the material
things of life is important.
1. No servant can
serve (at Matthew 6:24, it reads, “no one.”): The rest of the verse is
identical to Matthew 6:24.
a. has ability:
dunamai as a present middle indicative communicates an absolute
principle, that no one is able to serve equally, two opposing entities.
to serve: douleuo (present active infinitive).
masters: The word for master is kurios (lord) and refers to the one whom you
answer to; the one who commands your allegiance, devotion, respect and love.
The two masters refers to spiritual value vs. material value.
b. These two are
c. You cannot give
equal devotion to the pursuit of earthly pleasure, which serves
the lusts of the sin nature, and to the pursuit of truth, which serves
the plan of
either he will hate one and love the other (miseo vs. agapao) The issue of
dedication to and pursuit of benefit for.
will hold to one and despise the other:
a. hold to: antecho
(future active indicative) communicates dedication.
The word means to hold down or ONTO.
despise: kataphroneo means to think down or against and indicates mental
Light and darkness are mutually exclusive.
a. 1 John 1:5
b. John 3:19-21
a. you are not able
-present middle indicative of dunamai.
b. to serve: douleuo - present active infinitive.
That is, place maximum value on the one served.
God: theos - reference to the plan and viewpoint of God
8. And mamonas -
a. Luke 9:57-62
b. Luke 14:15-27
by way of application, surplus details include ANYTHING that is not necessary
to sustain one's physical life. This then, would include family and friends,
which is exactly what Jesus addressed at Matthew 10:34-39. He who loves OTHERS
more than Jesus is not expressing true devotion to Him and is not worthy to be
called a disciple. IN fact, in another setting, Jesus emphasized this with
hyperbole when he said, "unless one HATES" these others, "he cannot be my
disciple." Now of course, this does not mean that we are to hate others, but
by way of comparison, when it comes down to the promotion of spiritual values,
our love for Christ should be so fine-tuned, that it would appear as though we
hated others, because we give Him most of the attention.
Luke records the response of some wealthy and legalistic religious leaders who
were listening to him and mocking his principles of wisdom
1. The Pharisees: A group of religious leaders who prided themselves in
their good works. Thinking themselves to be better than the common man.
See Topic: The Pharisees and Sadducees
2. Lovers of money: Adjective –
A. philos, indicates a soul totally occupied and enraptured with money or
B. arguros, silver (money), refers to material things in general.
C. These people were rich and were rich-minded.
Rich minded is an
attitude that elevates material possessions
(See Topic: Details of Life)
as more important and valuable than anything else in life.
3. Were listening to all these things: this indicates that the information of
verses 1-12 was given in the hearing of the multitudes and the religious
The sermon on the mount was given in public with the multitudes in attendance.
But there is no indication that any Pharisees were present.
This setting seems to be different than the sermon on the mount.
They heard and are responding to verses 1-12 rather than verse 13.
4. and were scoffing: The verb is ekmuktāridzo and occurs only here and Luke
It means to ridicule, to sneer, to “turn up the nose” at someone.
It is an imperfect active indicative, which indicates a continuous expression
of ridicule toward the teachings of Jesus.
The word occurs in the LXX (Septuagint) at Psalm 2:4 of God toward His enemies.
At Psalm 21:8 (22:7) for the mockers of the Messiah on the cross.
At Psalm 34(35):16 of David’s enemies toward him.
The shorter verb (without the preposition EK) muktāridzo means the same
thing and occurs at Galatians 6:7, and at Psalm 79:7 (80:6), Proverbs 1:30;
15:20, and Jeremiah 20:7 in the LXX.
Jesus answers the rich-mindedness of the Pharisees
1. And He said to them: Personal application to the rich-minded.
2. You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men: The idea here is
that they make themselves appear righteous before others.
Matthew 23:5, “but they do all their deeds to be noticed by men.”
3. But God knows your hearts:
Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But Yahweh weighs the hearts.”
Hebrews 4:13, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to
4. for that which is highly esteemed among men: the adjective, hupsālos, means
HIGH, and thus communicates the idea of value and priority.
5. is detestable in the sight of God: This adjective is, bdelugma. Detestable
indicates something of LOWEST value. The contrast is between that which is of
greatest importance in life, and what is of least importance.
The Pharisees thought that through their wealth and their Jewish heritage,
they had a guaranteed entrance into the kingdom of God.
A. Matthew 3:9, “And do not suppose that yu can say to yourselves, ‘We have
Abraham for our father;’ for I say to you, that God is able from these
to raise up children to Abraham.”
B. John 8:33, “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s offspring,
and have never yet been enslaved to anyone.’”
THE ATTEMPT TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON ONE’S OWN TERMS
1. The law and the prophets were proclaimed until John: Basically, the
PROMISE of the Messiah’s arrival; His character and His work (both advents),
and salvation through faith/trust in the Messianic promise.
2. Since then the gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed:
The gospel of the kingdom is FAITH in the Messiah.
Matthew 3:2, John’s message: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Acts 19:4, “telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him,
that is in Jesus.”
Mark 1:15, the message of Jesus: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
3. And everyone is forcing his way into it: The verb here is, biadzo,
as a present active indicative. The use of FORCE is figurative. What it
indicates is the attempt to “force” oneself into the kingdom on terms other
than those established by God. It thus seeks to OVERTHROW by “spiritual
violence” the authority of God.
4. Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptizer until now, the
kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
A. Suffers violence: This is biadzo as a present PASSIVE indicative.
The kingdom is being “violently” assaulted.
B. and violent me: The noun is biastās. These are the religious people who
to force their own terms for entrance into God’s kingdom.
C. Taking it by force: This is the verb, harpadzo. It means to steal
or to PLUNDER a place for its possessions. They want to possess the
God’s kingdom on their own terms; WITHOUT -
1. Creature humility: Recognition of God as the Creator and sustainer
of all life.
2. Or sin humility: Recognition that I am a sinner and fall short of
3. Or salvation humility: Recognition that God has provided the ONLY
way to find
forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and that is through faith
alone in Christ alone.
D. Matthew 23:25
“Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the
outside of the cup
and of the dish, but inside they are full of plunder and
The word, plunder, is harpagā (the noun from the verb harpadzo).
It indicates that they are OUTWARDLY following the law (cleaning the
inside they are trying to possess the benefits of the kingdom of God on
At Luke 11:39, the word ponāria is used, which refers to an intense
that affects and destroys others.
At Matthew 23:13, this evil influence is expressed by Jesus. “Because
you shut off
the kingdom heaven from men; for you do not enter n yourselves, nor do
those who are entering to go in.”
E. Their inward character and EVIL motivations are indicated at Matthew
“outwardly you appear righteous, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy
lawlessness.” ( The word, anomia, indicates that they are in rebellion
against the true
laws of God)
GOD’S LAWS CANNOT BE UNDONE OR AVOIDED
“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away
than for one stroke of a letter of the law to fail.”
According to verse 16, the religious people are trying to possess the
benefits of the kingdom of heaven on their own terms contrary to the
established policy of God.
The policy of God that revolved around the Messianic promise of salvation
provided through the person and work of God’s Messiah.
That policy is what has been taught in “the law and the prophets.” Luke 24:44;
John 3:10, “Jesus answered and said to him,
‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?’”
Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He
explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”
Acts 10:23, “of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name
everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
The attempt of the religious people to FORCE their way into God’s kingdom
on their own terms is totally contrary to the LAW OF GOD. Jesus REMINDS and
REBUKES when He says that there is not ONE little stroke of any letter of the
Hebrew alphabet that will or CAN be removed or overthrown.
However, there will come a time when the law of Moses will no longer be
needed; when it will have become completely fulfilled. That will be in the
eternal kingdom of resurrected humanity and the elect angels. Jesus indicated
the permanence of the Mosaic law from this perspective at Matthew 5:18.
"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest
letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished."
In this verse, the word, heōs, occurs two
times. The first time it refers to the law in GENERAL, and the second time,
to SPECIFIC factors within the law.
1. Until: heōs an (plus the subjunctive
mood of the following verb), introduces an unknown time factor, although
the event that is in view is specific and certain.
2. heaven and earth: the PRESENT physical
3. Pass away: the verb is parerchomai as
an aorist active subjunctive to indicate a future reality but with an
unknown time for its occurrence.
4. the smallest letter or stroke of the
a. The negative (not) is with the verb.
b. This is hyperbole to indicate that
the law as an entire entity or whole unit, will be pertinent until the
renovation of the universe. (smallest letter = yodh; stroke = any mark
made by a stylus, or other writing implement)
5. Shall not pass away: the negative is
doubled (ou me) to indicate certainty (shall not ever), and the verb is
parerchomai again, in the same form.
6. Until: heōs an + pas (all) to refer to
the specific details of God's plan for the human race as taught in the
Mosaic law. There is still the same UNKNOWN time factor indicated by the
subjunctive mood of the verb.
7. Be fulfilled: The verb is ginomai
which means to become something that it was not before, thus the idea of
COME TO PASS. The physical universe will remain in place until God's
entire plan for the human race is brought to completion. That means it
occurs AFTER the millennial kingdom of Christ.
However, various details of the law will be ACCOMPLISHED before the entire
WHOLE is accomplished. For example, based on the book of Hebrews and
Paul's writings, the worship system of the law was fulfilled by Christ and
is not in operation during the time period known as the church age.
B. Luke 16:17
"But it is easier for heaven and earth to
than for one stroke or letter of the law to fail."
It is EASIER only because in fact, God's
plan has the renovation of the universe as the FINAL item of the law to be
C. Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33
Illustration of priority in permanence and
"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not ever pass away."
1. The verb is parerchomai again, first
as a future middle indicative, and then as an aorist active subjunctive
plus the DOUBLE negative (ou me = not ever). But Mark and Luke both have
the future middle with the double negative instead of the aorist.
2. My words refers to the divine
viewpoint that Christ taught, which revolved around relationship with God,
first, and then the principle of beneficent love as the core factor for
how creatures are to relate to one another.
See Topic: The Renovation of the Universe
Verse 18 seems to be “off-topic,” but it certainly relates to the previous
fact that the law of God will not be done away with. Especially in view of the
challenge issued by the Pharisees at Matthew 19:3, “And some Pharisees came to
Him, testing Him, and saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for
any cause at all?’”
The moral standards of the Mosaic law have vital application to Christians
of all ages. Divine morality does not change. Morality is God’s system of
truths and principles designed to preserve order, stability and freedom within
the human race.
See Topic on: MORALITY
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he
who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.”
For details about marriage see Topics: MARRIAGE
original design of marriage:
attitude: not good
2. God's provision: I will make
3. God's intent: leave and cling
4. The marriage unit: One flesh
Primary purpose: help meet (fellowship and assistance)
Secondary purpose: fruitful and multiply.
19:3-9 - the issue of divorce
the challenge: Divorce for any reason.
School of Hillel permitted this.
2. School of Shammai permitted divorce only for sexual immorality.
The divine viewpoint answer.
Quotation of scripture.
2. Therefore what God has joined: Divine design and pattern for morality in
the human race.
no man break apart: Reference to divorce that does NOT have any divine
4. In verse
9, Jesus will tell us on what terms divorce could have divine sanction.
distortion of the soul: Gen. 2:25 and 3:7; 8:21; Ec. 9:3
moral relationships are now subject to human viewpoint corruption because of
the presence of the sin nature. Ec. 7:29
is expressed by the term "hardness of heart." Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-22
Therefore, the existence of divorce. Mat. 19:8, because of the hardness of
a man marries a wife:
becomes lord or master over her.
b. indicates a normal and bona fide social arrangement.
it happens: in the normal course of married life (rather than on the wedding
Actually, "if" - to indicate the possibility of negative factors arising in
finds no favor: chān - no elegance or soul attraction as at Prov. 5:19.
Because he has found: discovered, realized - in the normal course of married
indecency (uncleanness): erwAh dAbhAr = some nakedness of a thing.
construction only occurs here and at Deut. 23:14.
b. God's standard of something which is unclean, immoral, shameful and
therefore detrimental to the welfare of society.
initially "adultery" because that required the death penalty.
d. Later, adultery was included since the death penalty for adultery was never
carried out in the nation. CF. Joseph at Mat. 1:19.
writes: divorce procedure
us assume that the reason is "not" adultery.
b. Then, either he is unforgiving toward her failure in some area, Ie,
hardness of heart.
c. OR -
she is unchanging concerning her error, ie, hardness of heart.
either case, no spiritual values are present in their life and divorce is
permitted apparently to prevent any greater sin by either party.
2. Mark 10:5, this commandment
3. But it is because of hardness of heart (sklārokardia)
certificate of divorce: keriythuth
book of cutting off: speaks of breaking off that which clings; Ie, the one
flesh unit of marriage.
Probably originated in Egypt.
Verse 3a, 2nd husband is allowed to divorce.
Observation that Moses divorced and remarried. Ex. 18:2; 4:24-26; Num. 12:1
issue of legitimate divorce for the believer. I.e., right of remarriage while
maintaining fellowship with God.
scenario in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 does not condone divorce.
B. It recognizes what takes place in the normal course of life tainted by the
that takes place because of the absence of spiritual values in the soul. Ie,
hardness of heart, Matthew 19:8.
it is accommodation to believers out of fellowship and unbelievers who have no
compatibility with divine standards - in order to prevent greater inequities
and problems in society.
indeed, God hates divorce. Malachi 2:13-16
F. And Jesus clarifies the issue when he makes adultery (sexual immorality)
the only reason for legitimate divorce. Matthew 5:32; 19:9
Application to the wife: Mark 10:12, The exception clause (ie, for adultery)
is not mentioned by Mark, but Jesus still spoke it.
16:18, "everyone," with the exception clause again not mentioned by the
writer. Apparently understood by the recipients of the book.
only other reason for legitimate divorce is taught by Paul at 1 Corinthians 7:15. I.e.,
desertion by an unbelieving spouse.
issue of marriage and remarriage:
19:9, the exception clause indicates right to remarry if you are the innocent
party when your spouse has committed adultery.
B. 1 Corinthians
7:16, "not under bondage" indicates right to remarry.
C. Deut. 24:4, no right to remarry spouse if she remarried after a divorce.
defiled: tame - both soul and body.
2. Abomination before Yahweh.
3. Shall not bring sin on the land: produces moral instability and chaos.
4. Amplified at Jeremiah 3:1, yet here we learn of God's grace attitude in this
"spiritual" situation. We can make application to actual divorce situations
and always seek to use the grace attitude.
Guidelines for the Levitical priesthood. Leviticus 21:14
E. Application to 1 Timothy 3:2, Church leadership: The husband of one wife.
Indicates a bona fide marriage or remarriage on biblical terms.
7:1-4, the death of a spouse severs the marriage bond and gives right for
apply the principle of 1 Corinthians 7:39.
issue of separation from the spouse: 1 Cornthians 7:10-11
do not leave, chōridzō refers to a cultural divorce form the
standpoint of society, but not biblical divorce.
Remain unmarried: this establishes it as a separation issue, not divorce.
C. There are times when a woman has to leave the authority of the husband
because of abuse. Physical, soul or authority abuse.
Spousal abuse enslaves and destroys the freedom factor in morality. Thus to
reestablish personal freedom, the woman needs to separate.
this is never to be called divorce or achieved through legal divorce according
to society's standards.
F. It is
separation and has no option for marriage to another - that is, and maintain
fellowship with God.
OPTION: Or be reconciled to the husband - obviously when differences are
apply the principle of Deuteronomy 24:4; Jeremiah 3:1
issue of Grace provision and recovery.
Regardless of past failures, when the soul gets right with God, grace provides
for all man's detail needs.
Illustration at Jeremiah 3.
C. But apply the principle of fellowship. Recovery from sin is required.