The Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16 is one of the more difficult parables in the synoptic gospels. At first reading, Jesus appears to commend the steward for being a liar and a thief. More recent scholarship has understood this parable in light of what precedes it (the parable of the Prodigal Sons) rather than what follows (Luke 16:9ff). For example:
Notice the similarities between the two parables:
- Both parables have noble master who demonstrates extraordinary grace to a wayward underling.
- Both parables feature a wayward underling who wastes his master’s resources.
- In both parables, the wayward underling reaches a moment of truth regarding his actions.
- And finally in both, the wayward underling throws himself on the mercy of his noble master.