Verse 1 – And He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him this man was wasting his goods.
Verse 2 – “So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
A rich man would often employ a manager who handled all the business affairs of his estate. The charge that this manager had been that he had squandered the rich man’s possessions, either indicating neglect or criminal conduct. It must have been true.
Verse 3 – “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.
Verse 4 – ‘I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
Since the steward was fired, he had to find another job. He said he was not able to do physical labor and was too ashamed to beg, so he focused on a way that other people would allow him to live with them.
Verse 5 – “So he called every one of his masters debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
Verse 6 – “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
Verse 7 – “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’
At first glance, it seems that the steward is cheating the rich man. However, the steward was fired for mishandling his money and possessions, so evidently there was some crookedness going on with these charges for the goods in the first place. The steward was probably charging a commission for these transactions and simply made the bill what it should have been in the first place. This is exactly what the Pharisees would do when exchanging currency in the temple by overcharging people.
Verse 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.
Verse 9 – “And I say to you, make friends for yourself by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
I always had a hard time figuring out exactly what these verses meant, but a little longer study makes it clear. The rich man is not God, because God doesn’t praise people for being an unjust steward. The landowner represents the world finances. He praised the steward for correcting the cheating that he had done in the first place, and therefore made friends with the debtors. The sons of this age are unbelievers, whereas the sons of light often fail to utilize their financial resources to win people to faith. Thus Jesus encouraged His followers to use their money shrewdly in order to advance God’s kingdom.
Verse 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.
Verse 11 – “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (riches and wealth, blessings and gifts), who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Our integrity often meets its match in money matters. God calls us to be honest even in small rationalize away. Heavens riches are far more valuable than earthly wealth. Every believer is a steward of the gifts God has given. If we can not be trusted with what we already have, we would be a poor steward if more was entrusted to us of more value.
Verse 12 – “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s who will give you what is your own?
Are we faithful and good stewards to what belong’s to God and others? If not, how can we expect to be faithful to what has been given to our ownership?
Verse 13 – “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Is Jesus talking about money? Yes, He is. Money has the power to take God’s place in people’s lives. Do you ever notice when talking to people who have no worries about money, because they are never in lack, never mention God in any conversation? They mention where they go, how much they spend, what they buy for their families, but not God being the one who has blessed them. They don’t seem to need anything from Him. I have found that people who are never in any kind of lack, are the hardest to talk to about Jesus. Their security all lies in their wealth. But talk to someone who has had to work hard and struggle, go through many hardships, and you will hear from them how good God has been, because He brought them through everything. I’d much rather live in a poor neighborhood than a rich one, because I can more than not, find people who need help!
Verse 14 – Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all things, and they derided Him.
This was evident in Matthew 23:4, when they would take widow’s houses and then recite long prayers for them.
Verse 15 – And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The Pharisees scoffed at Jesus, because they thought it possible to love God and money. But their admiration from the people was an abomination to God.
Verse 17 – “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
John the Baptist ministry was the dividing line between the Old and the New Testament. All the precepts, promises, types, figures and prophecies, had their full accomplishments in the person, miracles, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, Matthew 5:18.
Christ Teaches On Divorce
Verse 18 – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.
Most religious leaders of Jesus day permitted a man to divorce his wife for nearly any reason. Jesus teaching about divorce went beyond Moses. Divorce may be legal, according to the law, but in God’s eyes it is still adultery. Remarriage is legitimate in cases where the former marriage was dissolved due to sexual immorality.
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
Verse 19 – “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
Verse 20 – “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
Verse 21 – “desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.
This rich man certainly didn’t use his wealth to help the poor.
Verse 22 – “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
Verse 23 – “And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The circumstances were reversed when these two men died. Lazarus was in comfort and the rich man was in torment. The rich man’s eyes were blinded to the things of God while he lived , but after death he sees his mistake.
Verse 24 – “Then 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 tormented in this flame.
Verse 25 – “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
Hades or hell, is not a place of unconsciousness. They are fully aware of the darkness that surrounds them. The rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich. He went to hell for being selfish of the riches and blessings that had been given him, and he used them all for himself, self-centered and self-righteousness.
Verse 26 – ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you, cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
Before and after death, there is a huge divide between believers and non-believers. While living, there is still time for the non-believer to become a believer. After death there is no second chance. There is “No state of purgatory!” This is a man-made belief that there is a place after death that the soul is purified and then they pass on to heaven. It is part of the Roman Catholic doctrine and in no way is it scriptural. We have two choices while living and breathing on this earth, “Heaven or hell!”
Verse 27 – “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,
Verse 28 – ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
Did you notice that the rich man is not sorry for ignoring Christ, only that he didn’t want his brothers to come there. It’s not real concern for his brothers, it’s still a selfish response.
Verse 29 – “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
Verse 30 – “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will not repent.’
Did they not have the same opportunities to listen to what Moses had written or what the prophets had said concerning the coming of Christ?
Verse 31 – “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
If people won’t hear the gospel and repent, they are not going to believe even with someone being raised from the dead. How much more today will people be held accountable for ignoring the gospel, with it so available to us all.