“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
Some of the more difficult to understand of Christ’s teachings are found in the sixteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The chapter begins with the Lord’s parable of a rich man’s steward who was wasteful with his master’s resources. When the steward discovered that his master had found out about his misconduct, he quickly hatched a plot to provide for himself after he got fired. He called those indebted to his master and told them their debts had been severely reduced. This he did in order to gain their favor and their practical help after he found himself jobless. Luke goes on to tell us that “the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16:8-9). The Lord was certainly not commending the steward for his deceitfulness, but for his shrewdness and creativity in procuring a desirable future for himself. The steward did what he could in order to receive love and support from others. Similarly, our Lord would have us to make the best use of our physical resources in order to bless and help others so that when we go to heaven one day, we will receive a warm reception from those who benefited from our actions. This selfless use of our physical wealth stands in stark contrast to the Pharisees who loved money (Luke 16:14). Jesus explained to them in today’s verse passage that people must “press” into the kingdom. I take this verse to be a parallel to the Lord’s teachings in Matthew chapter seven. “Enter ye in at the strait gate,” said the Lord, “for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13-14). People must press into the kingdom just because the way is so narrow. There is barely enough room for each of us to enter. As the apostle Peter tells us, the righteous are saved with much difficulty (1 Peter 4:18). There is no room for our sin, pride, or our material possessions. May we be people who happily and confidently surrender all we have and all we are to the Savior who loved us first and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:21).
God bless you,