|Amazing Grace Church
|Was Jesus poor? ©
John Stemmons, Amazing Grace Church, Fujisawa, Japan - 042408 rv.100509
Money and prosperity is certainly a side issue in Christianity, but an important one; enough so that God made it part of the covenant with Abraham.
Deuteronomy 28:4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
We need to learn what God has to say about riches, instead of relying on tradition to teach us. God wants us to have money...he just doesn't want money to have us!
Some people think that God prefers us to be "poor and humble" as if those two somehow are supposed to go together. What a crass stereotype! Are all rich people proud and all poor people humble? Of course not! The truth is that many poor people are very proud and many rich people are very humble. Pride and humility are not tied to money.
Matthew 8:20. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
This issue was not about whether Jesus had any money, but rather about his lifestyle, continually moving about. Jesus did lay on a pillow while on the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 4: 38. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
...but of course, that ship was not his home.
Jesus did have a home, though we don't know much about it. Two disciples asked him where he lived and Jesus took them there and they stayed there that day. It may have been simply an inn where he was staying temporarily, but still puts to rest the idea that he had no money, because inns were and are expensive.
John 1:37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
People don't gamble for old clothing, but they might over an expensive suit...or a seamless robe. A seamless robe was the "expensive suit" of the day.
JN 19: 23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
Jesus paid his taxes, and that takes money. People don't have to pay taxes if you don't make any money.
MT 17: 24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
25. He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?
26. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
27. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
We are born naked...all that we have comes from God, and when we die, we can't take anything with us. So what is God teaching?
The bible gives many warnings about lusting for riches.
PVB 23:4a. Labour not to be rich:
PVB 28:20b...but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
PVB 28: 22. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
1 TIM 6:9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows..
2 COR 8:9 does not conflict with other passages, because God wants us to have riches but does not want us to "want to be rich". God is saying, "You take care of my business and i will take care of yours", which is consistent with covenant exchange.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Poor people cannot even help themselves, let alone help other people. Those with money can help those without money, and this is God's type of stewardship.
God pays his own bills through those he trusts with money.
9. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
10. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
12. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
..prosperity is really a greater "test" than poverty, if you think about it. Only tradition could get you to believe that God is after your money, the bible NEVER teaches such a thing. He is after your heart! If you live in your own house, chances are that you are in the upper 5-10% of the people of the world in riches. If you are in the upper 10%, most would agree that you are rich.
Where did Jesus get money while on the earth? From those that ministered to him "of their substance".
LK 8: 1. And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
3. And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
Prosperity is really a greater "test"than poverty, if you think about it.
Matthew 13:22bcand the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
God teaches us how to steward money, and following God's instruction leads to abundant wealth. Let God teach you how to handle money His way. And enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promised.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: