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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 1
Verse 1. His disciples. The word disciples, here, is not to be restricted to the twelve apostles or to the seventy. The parable appears to have been addressed to all the professed followers of the Saviour who were present when it was delivered. It is connected with that in the preceding chapter. Jesus had there been discoursing with the scribes and Pharisees, and vindicating his conduct in receiving kindly publicans and sinners. These publicans and sinners are here particularly referred to by the word disciples. It was with reference to them that the whole discourse had arisen. After Jesus had shown the Pharisees, in the preceding chapter, the propriety of his conduct, it was natural that he should turn and address his disciples. Among them there might have been some who were wealthy. The publicans were engaged in receiving taxes, in collecting money, and their chief danger arose from that quarter—from covetousness or dishonesty. Jesus always adapted his instructions to the circumstances of his hearers, and it was proper, therefore, that he should give these disciples instructions about their peculiar duties and dangers. He related this parable, therefore, to show them the danger of the love of money; the guilt it would lead to (Lu 16:1); the perplexities and shifts to which it would drive a man when once he had been dishonest (Lu 16:3-7); the necessity of using money aright, since it was their chief business (Lu 16:9); and the fact that if they would serve God aright they must give up supreme attachment to money (Lu 16:13); and that the first duty of religion demanded that they should resolve to serve God, and be honest in the use of the wealth intrusted to them. This parable has given great perplexity, and many ways have been devised to explain it. The above solution is the most simple of any; and if these plain principles are kept in view, it will not be difficult to give a consistent explanation of its particular parts. It should be borne in mind, however, that in this, as well as in other parables, we are not to endeavour to spiritualize every circumstance or allusion. We are to keep in view the great moral truth taught in it, that we cannot serve God and mammon, and that all attempts to do this will involve us in difficulty and sin.
A steward. One who has charge of the affairs of a family or household; whose duty it is to provide for the family, to purchase provisions, &c. This is, of course, an office of trust and confidence. It affords great opportunity for dishonesty and waste, and for embezzling property. The master's eye cannot always be on the steward, and he may therefore squander the property, or hoard it up for his own use. It was an office commonly conferred on a slave as a reward for fidelity, and of course was given to him that, in long service, had shown himself most trustworthy. By the rich man, here, is doubtless represented God. By the steward, those who are his professed followers, particularly the publicans who were with the Saviour, and whose chief danger arose from the temptations to the improper use of the money intrusted to them.
Was accused. Complaint was made.
Had wasted. Had squandered or scattered it; had not been prudent and saving.
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