Was Jesus a man of means, or was He a homeless Savior? Jesus came to redeem mankind. Christians all over the world can agree on that fact as well as many other basic biblical principles. However there are some areas of thought that have caused schisms within the church for years.
I published a video some time ago entitled “Dealing with the Tough Issues of Life” which speaks about issues within the church that are considered “controversial”.
Money has often been a topic that has been taboo within the church. What I find interesting is that most working adults spend a minimum of 40 hours per week seeking after money, yet money from a biblical perspective seems to be an uncomfortable subject to talk about.
Money, particularly whether Jesus was a person of means is a topic that could be included as one of these tough topics of discussion. Money has often been a topic that has been taboo within the church. What I find interesting is that most working adults spend a minimum of 40 hours per week seeking after money, yet money from a biblical perspective seems to be an uncomfortable subject to talk about.
I have my own thoughts on the economic status of Jesus and they are just that…my thoughts. Nothing can validate scripture better than scripture itself, so I’ve included some observations about the economic life of Jesus below.
This is not an exhaustive study by any means. The scripture references below are included only to provoke your thoughts in this area. Use them to open up lines of communication on the subject within your home, your life group, your community and your church.
Jesus – A Man of Means or Homeless Savior
- When Jesus was a young child, the bible says that there were wise men that brought Him Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These gifts were referred to as treasures. Since Jesus was a child at the time these gifts were given, would it be reasonable to believe that these gifts were squandered by His parents before Jesus reached adulthood? Or is it more likely that these treasures were set aside or even invested and multiplied to take care of Jesus and His family in the future?
- The bible says that Jesus had a treasury (Mark 12:41). This passage also says that many who were rich gave much into the treasury. In most societies, the poor don’t have nor do they need a treasury / bank account.
- Jesus had a staff of 12 people. These staff members were not derelicts or vagrants that were just sitting by the side of the road doing nothing with their lives. They had lives and they had jobs. We know that at least one of His disciples was married (Peter) because he had a mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14). Would it be reasonable to believe that Jesus would call a husband away from his family to a travelling ministry for 3.5 years and not be willing (or able) to provide support for the husband and his family as well as the other 11 men He called to follow Him? We have no record that the disciples worked part time jobs as they followed Jesus for 3.5 years, therefore I must make the assumption that Jesus was their sole source of support during the time they ministered together. It would take a man of substance to be responsible for the needs of 12 people for 3.5 years.
- The bible says that Judas was stealing out of the money bag (John 12:6). Hypothetically speaking, if there was $10.00 in the bag and 20% (or $2.00) was stolen out of the bag, most people would be aware of the loss at a glance. However, if there were $10,000 in the bag and 20% (or $2000) was stolen out of it, the only way to notice the theft would be to count the money. In the two scenarios, the theft of $2000 from a bag containing $10,000 would be much harder to detect than the theft of $2.00 from a bag containing $10.00. The money bad must have contained a hefty amount of money in order for these thefts to go undetected over the 3.5 year duration of Jesus’ ministry.
- In John chapter 12, Mary took a jar of very expensive oil and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair (John 12:3-6). But Judas asked “Why was this oil not sold and the money given to the poor?” If Jesus Himself were poor, this statement made by Judas would make no sense.
- In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and His 12 disciples (13 people that we know of) were on a boat. Jesus was in the hinder part of the boat asleep on a pillow. Matthews’ account of the story says that the disciples went and woke Him up. I didn’t realize this until recently, but because of the number of people onboard the boat and the fact that His disciples had to go and wake Him up, this had to be a pretty sizable boat…possibly a Yacht? Most poor people don’t have access to Yachts. Some translations even call the boat a ship.
- John 19:23-24 says that soldiers cast lots to see who would get Jesus’ robe. The robe is described as being one piece, without seam woven from the top. This had to be a pretty expensive robe. Most people wouldn’t make deals to acquire the clothing of a poor person.
As I said earlier, the above observations are offered simply to open your mind and possibly get you to see the scripture from a little different perspective. It might be well worth it to delve into these scriptures and others that seem to elude to the fact that Jesus was indeed a man of means.
In addition to the above, consider the fact that Jesus repeatedly met the needs of those He encountered. No doubt there were plenty of people with monetary needs that were met during the ministry of Jesus. Yet nowhere in scripture do we find that Jesus ever came up short in regards to meeting the needs of those around Him.
And even today, our God is still meeting our needs, according to His riches in glory….by Christ Jesus.