The shrewd one (Lk 16:8-16:8)

“His master commended

This dishonest manager

Because he had acted

Shrewdly.

The children

Of this age

Are more shrewd

In dealing

With their own generation

Than are

The children of light.”

 

καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν· ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου φρονιμώτεροι ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this lord or master commended or praised this dishonest manager (καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας) because he had acted shrewdly (ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν).  Once again, this term φρονίμως, meaning shrewdly, sensibly, wisely, or prudently, is unique to Luke among all the New Testament writers.  Jesus said that the children of this age (ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου) were shrewder (φρονιμώτεροι) in dealing with their own generation (εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν) than are the sons or the children of light (ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς).  The sons of light are the righteous ones.  However, those people of this generation were more prudent, sensible, wise, or shrewd compared to the followers of Jesus, who tended to be imprudent in the eyes of the world.  Are you shrewd in business dealings?

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No longer a manager (Lk 16:2-16:2)

“The rich man

Summoned

This house manager.

He said to him.

‘What is this

That I hear

About you?

Give me

An accounting

Of your management,

Because you cannot be

My manager

Any longer.’”

 

καὶ φωνήσας αὐτὸν εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ; ἀπόδος τὸν λόγον τῆς οἰκονομίας σου· οὐ γὰρ δύνῃ ἔτι οἰκονομεῖν.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus continued with this story.  He said that the rich man summoned or called his house manager (καὶ φωνήσας αὐτὸν).  He asked him (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) about what he had heard about him (ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ).  He wanted him to give an accounting of his management (ἀπόδος τὸν λόγον τῆς οἰκονομίας σου), because he was not going to be his house manager any longer (ὐ γὰρ δύνῃ ἔτι οἰκονομεῖν).  Once again, Luke used this unique Greek word οἰκονομεῖν, meaning household manager throughout this parable.  This rich man did not do any investigation.  He just simply heard a report and acted on it.  There is no indication who rendered this report to him.  Nevertheless, the house manager was fired.  Have you ever been fired or let go?

The little child (Lk 9:47-9:47)

“But Jesus

Became aware

Of their inner thoughts.

He took

A little child.

He put this child

By his side.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ,

 

Luke said that Jesus became aware of their inner heart thoughts (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἰδὼς τὸν διαλογισμὸν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν).  He took a little child (ἐπιλαβόμενος παιδίον).  He put this child by his side (ἔστησεν αὐτὸ παρ’ ἑαυτῷ).  This talk about Jesus and the little child can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:2, as well as Mark, chapters 9:36, with some changes.  Mark said that Jesus took a little child.  He then placed this little child in the middle or among his disciples.  He held the child in his arms and then he spoke to his apostles.  Matthew indicated that Jesus put an emphasis on becoming like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus called or summoned a little child.  He placed this little child in the middle of his disciples.  Then he made a solemn proclamation that they had to change or convert to become like little children.  Otherwise, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven   Whoever became humble like this little child in their midst, would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  The greatest in heaven would be the simple humble little children or those who acted like children, without power and depending on other people.  What do you think the role of children should be?

The house with no foundation (Lk 6:49-6:49)

“But he who hears,

And does not act,

Is like a man

Who built a house

On the ground

Without a foundation.

When the river burst

Against it,

Immediately,

It fell.

Great was the ruin

Of that house.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν χωρὶς θεμελίου, ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός, καὶ εὐθὺς συνέπεσεν, καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the one who heard (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας) the word of Jesus, but did not act on it (καὶ μὴ ποιήσας), was like a man (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ) who built a house (οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν) on ground (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν) without a foundation (χωρὶς θεμελίου).  When the river streams burst against it (ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός), immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), it fell (συνέπεσεν).  Great was the ruin of that house (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:26-27, which might indicate a Q source.  The opposite of the preceding verses was present here.  Everyone who heard these words of Jesus, but did nothing about them, as opposed to those who acted upon them, were like a foolish or stupid person.  These foolish people built a house on a sand foundation, sandy ground, or no foundation, not a rock foundation.  It is interesting to note that these must have been former followers of Jesus, since they had heard his words, not people who had never heard about Jesus, indicating a rift among the followers of Jesus.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house also.  However, there was a different result here.  This house fell, because it was built on a weak foundation.  The rock foundation was those who had followed the words of Jesus.  The sand foundation was those who heard the words of Jesus but did not follow it.  Their house would suffer not just a fall, but a great fall.  It was not good enough to hear the words of Jesus, you had to act on them.  Is your house built on a weak foundation with no follow through on the words of Jesus?

Build well!

“That one

Who heard his word

And acted on it is

Like a man

Building a house.

He dug deeply.

He laid the foundation

On a rock.

When a flood came,

The river burst

Against that house.

However,

It could not shake it,

Because it had been

Well built.”

 

ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν, ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the one who had heard his word and acted on it was like a man building a house (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν).  He dug deeply (ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν).  He laid the foundation on a rock (καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  When a flood came (πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης), the streams of the river burst against that house (ροσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ).  However, they could not shake it (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν), because it had been well built (διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:24-25, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said there that these wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house, but it did not fall, because it was built on a strong foundation.  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.  How have you built your house?

Gentile tyrannical leadership (Mk 10:42-10:42)

“Jesus called them.

He said to them.

‘You know

That among the gentiles

Those whom

They recognize

As their rulers,

Lord it over them.

Their great ones

Are tyrants

Over them.”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:25, almost word for word, and Luke 22:25, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus called his 12 apostolic leaders to himself (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) because of this dispute among them.  He said to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) that they knew that among the recognized gentile rulers (Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν), the Romans and the Greeks, they lorded it over their people (κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν).  Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν).  Jesus explained that this autocratic power system, sometimes dictatorial, within the Roman Empire system was the way of the world.

 

Servant leaders (Mt 20:25-20:27)

“But Jesus called them

To himself.

He said.

‘You know

That the rulers

Of the gentiles

Lord it over them.

Their great men

Are tyrants over them.

It will not be so

Among you.

Whoever wishes to be great

Among you

Must be your servant.

Whoever wishes to be first,

Among you

Must be your slave.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος·

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:42-44, almost word for word, and Luke 22:26, but slightly different.  Jesus called his 12 leaders to himself (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς) because of this dispute among them.  He told them that they knew that the gentile rulers, the Romans and the Greeks, lorded it over their people (ἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν).  Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν).  However, Jesus reminded them that it was not going to be like that among them (οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν), the early Christian leaders, the 12.  Whoever wanted to be great among them must be their servant or waiter (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders, but true leaders who served their people.  The early 12 apostolic leaders must practice servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.