Cp 1Co 4:1-5: It is required that a steward be faithful.
(Note: Judas was a steward, or manager: Joh 12:4-6.)
A RICH MAN: Also in v 19.
WASTING HIS POSSESSIONS: As the prodigal son did with
his father's possessions, in Luk 15:13. The unfaithful manager is a practical
example of the lesson in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son.
YOU CANNOT BE MANAGER ANY LONGER: At death, we cease
our stewardship. This is not so much a threat as a warning: the time is coming
when you must give account.
Suggestion: he was only refunding his own commission. This
could explain why his lord commended him (v 8). Cp the vow of Zacchaeus, who
seems to be giving back his own "commissions" or "skimmings" as a tax-collector:
The master commends the steward, not for stealing, but for
giving back what he has stolen (as with Zaccheus: Luk 19:7-9).
Or, alternatively: The manager had done a wise or clever
thing, but not necessarily a righteous one. His master acknowledges his
cleverness, but he is nevertheless unjust. The manager's wisdom was a worldly,
practical type of "wisdom", something like the subtlety of the serpent (sw Gen
FRIENDS: His master's debtors (v 5), not the "wealth"
itself. Cp idea in 1Ti 6:19: laying up for self a good foundation.
TRUE RICHES: That is, the "deposit" (of sound
teaching): 1Ti 6:20; cp 2Ti 1:14.
YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY: "The brain takes
all its impressions from without, and it can only receive so much -- each day a
little. It may be compared to a book of blank pages, on which each day writes
something on each page. The character of the writing depends upon the holder of
the pen. If a man's whole strength is each day spent, from sunrise to the
evening shade, in attending to mortal matters, the natural man holds the pen all
the time, and a natural man's record is the result. The brain is filled with
images of natural perishing life, which profit nothing for the time to come. But
let God have the pen some part of the day; let the word be diligently read, let
the soul ascend frequently to God in prayer, let the thoughts rest sometimes on
the promises, let the business of God have some share of the day's counsel and
strength, something then is written for God; and this process continued from day
to day will fill up a good account. The mind will be in-lettered with the ideas
of God. It will be assimilated to the affairs of God, and the man brought into a
state of increasing ripeness for the calling to which we are called by the
Gospel" (SC 97).
The elder son (Luk 15:25...) was serving "wealth", desiring
inheritance and privilege. He was a hireling.
How we handle money reveals much about the depth of our
commitment to Christ. That is why Jesus often talked about money. One-sixth of
the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touches on money and
stewardship. Jesus dealt with money matters because money matters. For some of
us, though, it matters too much: "The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this
and were sneering at Jesus" (v 14). They were highly "religious", but they could
not see how money and its pursuit and acquisition could hold anything less than
the preeminent place in a man's life, and for any man to question that
preeminence was for them an undeniable proof of his folly.
THE PHARISEES, WHO LOVED MONEY: Their materialism, in
Mat 9:14; 23:23; Luk 18:12: the subject of following parable.
WHO JUSTIFY YOURSELVES: Like the steward of the
IS FORCING HIS WAY INTO IT: In hope (Phi 3:13,14) of
its coming (2Pe 1:11).
INTO: Or "toward" (eis): examples in Luk 13:22; Mat
28:1; Joh 6:17; Act 27:40; 28:14.
The Law does not pass away until all is fulfilled. If they had
truly known the Law, then they would have accepted gospel.
The Pharisees' laxness concerning marriage and divorce
emphasizes their disrespect for the Law (v 17). The Law should have been
standard even of Pharisees, unless they were hardhearted (Deu 24:1).
Context in which this parable is given (perhaps): the time
right after Jesus hears of Lazarus' illness (Joh 11:6).
The only parable using a proper name. Also different from most
parables, in that it is not related to natural events.
First principles: (a) Death state: Ecc 9:5; Psa 6:5; 146:4.
(b) Resurrection: 1Co 15:16-18,32; Phi 3:10,11; Joh 6:39. (c) Punishment of
death: Act 24:15; Rom 8:13; Psa 37:20.
Parables were made purposefully obscure: Mat 13:10-15,34; cp
A RICH MAN: Israel, exalted to God's favor (Deu
32:9-14), having God's oracles (Rom 3:1...). The Pharisees were wealthy; Jesus
urges them to forsake their wealth (v 13) by using money wisely (v 9).
PURPLE: See Exo 39:2,24,29; Est 8:5.
LINEN: See Exo 39; Rev 18:6.
AT HIS GATE: The rich man even knew him by name (v 24),
but did nothing to help him. Cp Act 3, the beggar at the Beautiful
LAZARUS: Sig "without help"; ref Gentiles (Eph 2:11,12;
Mat 15:21-28). This parable is told by Jesus after he hears of Lazarus' illness:
Joh 11:6. The real Lazarus had no help from man, but only of God: Joh
WHAT FELL: The crumbs, as in Mat 15:26,27.
EVEN THE DOGS: Lazarus is identified with Gentiles, ie
HIS SORES: Not bound up, like those of the man who fell
among thieves (Luk 10:34). But later (v 22) they will be!
ABRAHAM'S SIDE: Should be Abraham's bosom: supposedly a
specific place in the Underworld (Hades: v 23) where the faithful are joined
together with Abraham and all the faithful ones. But here = a special place of
favor at a meal (Joh 1:18; 13:23; cp Luk 13:28-30; 14:7-24; 15:16,17,23,28; Mat
21:31), denied to Lazarus previously (Luk 16:20).
DIED AND WAS BURIED: Alternative translation
(repunctuation) of vv 32,33: "The rich man died and was buried in Hades. Then
(ie later, after a resurrection to judgment), being in torment..." (See Lesson,
NT punctuation.) Lit, "AND (Gr kai) in Hades": thus, "died AND was buried AND
was in Hades", ie, he remained in Hades... until... Or, "was buried, EVEN in
"Think of actors: they wear masks, they dress up. One looks
like a philosopher while not being one; another seems to be a king but is no
king; another appears to be a doctor and has not the faintest idea how to cure
the sick; another pretends to be a slave despite being free; still another plays
the part of a teacher yet does not know even how to write. They do not appear as
they are, they appear to be something else. The philosopher is a philosopher
only because of his abundant but false wig, the soldier is a soldier just
because he sports a military uniform. These disguises help to create an
illusion, to hide the reality.
"The world is a theater too. The human condition, richness,
poverty, power, subjection are merely the pretenses of actors. But when the day
is done and the night falls (which, however, we ought to call day: it is night
for sinners and day for the just), when the play is over, when we all find
ourselves confronted with our own actions and not with our riches or dignity or
the honors we have had or the power we have wielded, when we are asked to give
an account of our lives and our works of virtue, ignoring both the feats of our
opulence and the humility of our need, when we are asked: 'Show me your deeds!',
then the disguises will fall and we shall see who is truly rich and who is truly
poor" (John Chrysostom, Homily on Lazarus).
HELL: Gr "Hades", not "Gehenna". "Hades": equivalent to
Heb "Sheol", the grave! Burning only associated with "Gehenna" in NT (Mat
5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23;15,33; Mar 9:43,45,47; Luk 12;5; Jam 3:6), not with
Hades (Mat 11:23; 16:18; Luk 10:15; Act 2:27,31; 1Co 15:55; Rev 1:18; 6:8;
TORMENT: Gr "basanos": developing idea, as (a) the
black rock an assayer would use to test whether gold/silver coins were real or
forgeries (rub the coin against it, and check the color); (b) checking any
calculation in a financial transaction; (c) any type of testing; and finally (d)
testing by means of torture. General concept of judgment, with painful
LOOKED UP: To lift up eyes, with ref to Abraham,
suggests: surveying Land of promise, Kingdom hope (Gen 13:14; Deu
A GREAT CHASM: The rich man had enforced such a "great
FATHER: Cp Joh 8:31-59.
FIVE BROTHERS: Caiaphas, the rich High Priest, had 5
brothers-in-law, who had all performed the office of the High Priest (Ant
SOMEONE FROM THE DEAD: Which would be... Lazarus
himself (Joh 11:47-57)!
EVEN IF SOMEONE RISES FROM THE DEAD: Christ points to
his own resurrection: Mat 28:11; cp Act 4:10,17