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Was Jesus $$RICH$$ Discussion

October 8, 2010
Me:
There is no universal principle in Scripture that says all are to be “wealthy” or “prosperous” in the sense of having easy lives and meeting the modern American middle class standard of living. The NT talks more of suffering then an easy life, but it’s OK because after our 2 seconds of life we resurrect. Also, Jesus was poor at least all of his 30 years of life since his parents had to tithe the cheap offering with the pigeon (Lev 12:8, Luke 2:24).

Tim:
Cam, the scriptures you listed talked about Joseph and Mary being poor and yes they did have to offer a poor persons sacrifice as stated clearly in scriptures, but the thing about that is Jesus was not 30 yrs old when they offered the sacrifice but only a little over a week . That was not at the age of 30. In fact if you turn to the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2 the wise men brought them gold, frankincense, and myrrh verse 11. Notice they entered a house not a manger which some Christmas stories might say otherwise.
There were not 3 wise men but 3 types of gifts that was brought to him Psalms 72:10. There was a lot more gold than people can imagine and traveling for two years you would be pretty dangerous. there had to be a huge herd of people bringing that to our Lord and Savior. But still unless we do a study about what the wise men officially brought we have to stick with scripture.Yes Joseph and Mary was poor but Jesus was not poor by any means. Still not enough scriptures that talk about him from the age of 2 to 30. Still an opinion.
Me:
Tim, if we’re going to go off of only what Scripture gives us and not assume, then there’s still no Biblical reason to assume Jesus was “rich” and not “poor”. We don’t know how big the house was, or how much gold was given. It could have been spent during their flee to Egypt too, which would make sense considering the point I’ve already raised, namely, by the time he was a young kid his parents tithed with the poor offering, NOT from the gold the wisemen brought them!
We don’t know these things. My point is that Jesus was clearly born into an overall poor family. I would even argue that he lived a mostly poor life during his 3 years of ministry too. He did a miracle to tithe. That’s not being exempt from paying taxes, when you’re still paying it and when Peter answered “yes” to the question if he pays taxes.

His robe was gambled over because it was a robe which the Roman soldiers put on him, thus was probably nice. (I was wrong on this point, yet clarify later). Jesus had no where to lay his head, Lk 9:58. Yes Judas was stealing from the treasury, but the treasury wasn’t Jesus’ Nordstrom money, it was for giving to the poor, festivals, etc (John 13:29). It’s never indicated that this was his own personal stash to live luxurious with. The apostles also don’t teach this as a universal principle either which extreme word of faithers make it. Phi 4:11-13, 2 Cor 4:16-18. The apostles speak more about suffering being the norm, not ease.

Tim:
It is clearly evident that paying taxes was customarily done by Jesus and His disciples, as well as the children of God. The temple tax was taken up for the service of the Father, therefore Jesus being a Son of God he is exempt from paying…. But goes on to say nevertheless , lest we offend them. Jesus did not want to offend the tax collectors, Jesus’ business is not to reform the politics of nations, but the morals of the world.
The robe that was giving to Jesus by the roman soldiers. Matthew 27:28 says that they stripped Jesus of His clothes, then in verse 35 they crucified Him and divided His garments, casting lots that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. John’s account on this is in 19:23 the clothes that the guards cast lots for was not the robe they had put on Him but in fact the clothes that was stripped off of Jesus’ body when they crucified Him.
Luke 9:58 Verse 51Jesus had no place to lay His head because He was traveling to Jerusalem and V.52 He sent messengers before Him.
They entered the village of Samaritans to prepare a place for Him to stay.V.53 But they did not receive Him because (they were in hospitable) because His face was set for Jerusalem.V.54 James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven and consume them just as Elijah did.V.55 He turned and rebuked them and told them they don’t know what manner of spirit you are of.V.56 The son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. and they went to another village.V 57 as they journeyed on the road someone said Lord i will follow You wherever You go .
V 58 Jesus said Foxes have holes and birds have nest but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Jesus had nowhere to lay His head, not because He was poor but because He was traveling away from His home. Even in today’s time if we have an evangelist traveling all over they will call the church ahead of time and book a date to come share the Gospel. And if the church agrees with them coming then they would make reservations to stay here in the city while they are preaching. It does not mean that they are homeless.

There’s no doubt about it I believe we all need to learn to be content with what we have and not chase after anything. Whatever your beef is with Prosperity preachers should probably cease cause scripture tells us we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness int he heavenly places. There’s nothing wrong with not liking the doctrine that they introduce. continue to pray for them. Because we were called to love another.
God Bless

Me:
You bring up some good arguments Tim. Good job. First I never said Jesus was dirt poor, but I lean towards him being poor rather then saying he was rich. And just like many modern ministers live off of the donations of people, those donations come and go. We don’t know if Jesus had 4 days wages (shekel) in his treasury at that time, hence why he may have done it with a miracle to pay the temple tax.In Mat 27:28 it is a scarlet robe (Greek – kokkinos chlamys), which would be a red or purple robe worn by soldiers. Jesus would have drawn attention to himself that he never wanted if he walked around for 3 years with a purple robe! Thayers lexicon says that “chlamys” in this verse is referring to a soldier’s attire. And it technically would have been Jesus clothing in that moment, because it became his by virtue of the soldiers putting it on him and giving it to him. (Again, this is a bad argument on my part, yet I still clarify later)
I agree that Jesus stayed with people. I have no problem with that. But Jesus wasn’t a real-estate tycoon. He traveled and depended upon people to give him a place to stay. That all the more reinforces my opinion.The early church even gave while in a poor state. 2 Cor 8:2-3 “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” Apparently Paul didn’t teach the name it claim it doctrine to the Macedonians like he should have. It’s in this context 6 verses later that Paul says about Jesus, “though he was rich, for our sake became poor, so through his poverty we might become rich”. Dollar says being poor is a curse, when the Macedonians were commended, not cursed!Jesus told the Samaritan woman who had messed up theology that she didn’t know what she worshiped. I would say the same as Jesus did for prosperity preachers. Ja 3:1 says teachers will be judged more strictly. 1 Tim 4:16 says to watch our life and doctrine closely. Prosperity preachers like Haggin, Copeland, Jakes, Oral Roberts, and Dollar teach that Jesus and the apostles were rich, that we can be too if we are just faithful enough and believe, and that if we tithe we will get more money every time. Interesting that Oral Roberts asked for 8 million dollars from his listeners, instead of just tithing himself so he’d get it in return. These wild-eyed preachers never share Jesus’ and the apostle’s gospel either by calling people to repent of their sins to escape the wrath of Christ and to cling to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It shows what their priorities are! Their gospel is more about poor people becoming rich, not dead people coming to life!
Tim:
Mat 27:30 says they put Jesus’ original clothes back on him. So it couldn’t have been the Roman cloak they cast lots for. It was his original clothes.
Me:
Tim, you raised a good argument. After Jesus had a robe on he did have his original clothes put back on according to Mat 27:30. But I would also argue that in John 19:23-24 says that the Roman soldiers specifically cast lots for it. My Bible commentary says this was normal for the executioners so they would have more clothes and not let the clothes go to waste. So just as another counter argument, I wouldn’t say that just because Jesus’ clothes were cast lots for that he was “rich”. The soldiers probably sold it for more money since they weren’t going to wear Rabbi’s clothing! One other argument that I didn’t bring up yet is that in Matt 22:17 Jesus asked for the Pharisees to bring him a dinarius to look at, which was worth one full days wages. One could assume that Jesus didn’t even have that much money in the treasury at the time, hence why he had to ask them to get one.
Tim:
Right the soldiers did this to all people they were crucifying at the time. They took Jesus’ clothes and divided them up, these were his outer garments which were woven into parts which made it easy to divide. His tunic however was without seam and woven from top to bottom so tearing it and dividing them up would have rendered the tunic useless. So they casts lots to decide which one would get the tunic. Some commentaries say that their clothes were handmade which made them more expensive compared to today’s clothes. Also it says that the seamless tunic may be significant as to the type of garment a High priest would wear, but yet John did not expound on this point.
Matthew 22:17
The tribute money in Verse 19 this was a Roman coin. the tribute for the tax temple service was paid in the Jewish shekel. With them having that coin with them, and using it was proof that themselves held it lawful to pay the tribute, and their pretensions, were mere hypocrisy.
I would say about Jesus not having money with Him at the time, Judas was treasurer and often times he would leave to go feed the poor or help them while Jesus was still with other disciples as in John 13:29. So Jesus never had money on Him because He had His treasure or (accountant) taking care of the money of the church. Now if you are poor why would there be a need for a treasurer? How many poor people do we see today with an accountant with them going out helping the poor? John 12:3-6 Mary who took a pound of very costly perfume and poured it on Jesus feet. The perfume was worth a years wages and Judas mentions that in verse 5, why wasn’t this fragrance sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor.
Well if Jesus was poor would He not be the first to qualify for it? The scripture goes on to say in V6 this he said not that he cared for the poor, but because he was thief, and had the money box, and he used to take what was put in it. So let me ask you a question if they did not have enough in the treasure at the time to get a denarii. Don’t you think they would notice if someone was helping themselves to it? In other words if you had lets say the average income for a days wages is $100. Would you not notice that its missing if someone took from you? And if you didn’t notice that means you are slothful with your money and we know that God is against slothfulness and mismanaging what we have. And we know that Jesus was not like this.
In fact they had lots of money with them, Matthew 10:9-10 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor copper in your money belts V10 nor bag for for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staff, for a worker is worthy of his food.
God totally wants us to be depended upon Him to provide for us in every arena of life. If people give gifts to the worker such as Mary did for Jesus why are we getting upset when they do those things in today’s era. And the same people are saying “they can sell one of those cars to help the poor” same way Judas did, but remember the bible calls Judas a thief because he stole from God.
Everybody who is against prosperity preachers I can argue they might be thieves because they have their own interpretations on Tithing and Offerings. They don’t give for whatever reason, so when they see someone who has much they get offended because they know they are doing wrong themselves, they become critical. Malachi 3:8 God calls them robbers or thieves because they do not tithe or give offerings.
We need to evaluate our lives and ask ourselves this question do I tithe and give offerings and if not why? Does it line up with God’s word not to give. I bet if we look into we won’t find an answer where the scripture tells us not to give, but rather it is mans reason why we should not give. God’s word says it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Thx for your time i wait eagerly for your response – Your brother in Christ
Me:
Going back to the beginning, I agree that it is most likely that Jesus was born in a house, and the ancient world would have had mangers to feed animals in their houses, because they kept animals in their houses back then. Some places in the world still may do that today. But a house may have belonged to Joseph’s family, and a house back then is very different from a palace. If Creflo Dollar’s messages were true, we would expect Jesus to have been born in a palace, not a peasants house.Jesus may have gotten the tunic for free as a Rabbi, since I assume the Levitical tithes covered those expenses. It doesn’t mean he shopped at Dolce & Gabanna in the ancient world. The Roman soldiers probably didn’t want to walk around in a Jewish Rabbi’s clothing either! Of course they wouldn’t have. They weren’t Jewish, let alone Rabbis. I’m sure the tunics were nice, but again, that doesn’t mean all the Rabbis were rich at the time. They were paid for by the Levitical tithe. Even I have nice stuff and some poor people have nice things, but that doesn’t mean they are $$RICH$$. That again, is assuming too much about the text.

In Mat 22 they would have needed to have these coins b/c this tax of one full days wage was paid frequently with the Roman coin, yet Jesus didn’t have one on him. He asked someone to bring him one. Granted, just because he had someone bring it to him doesn’t mean he didn’t have it in his treasury, but we just don’t know for sure. The temple tax, being 4 days wages, was only once a year. Jesus did a miracle in order to pay that, and I agree it could have been to make the point that he is above paying the tax yet will anyways, but it seems pretty clear he didn’t have it on him.
And Jesus didn’t pay for an accountant as though he had his own business like we think in our modern world. Judas probably did this for free as a disciple. And it was Jesus’ ministry to give to the poor, hence why Judas would say that. He may have meant it as those who were more poor, or dirt poor. In John 12 they may have had a lot in the treasury and then later had little since they were always donating it, not buying huge vacation houses and jets with it like prosperity preachers do. This all the more debunks the prosperity gospel b/c Jesus gave what he had away. He didn’t preach that if everyone gives to him then they’ll get richer.

In Mat 10:9 we don’t know how much or little of coins they had or how much it all was worth. It’s by reading into the text that we assume they were $$RICH$$, not by pulling out from the text. This is what I call the $$MONEY$$ syndrome, where every time in the Scripture where it makes any reference whatsoever to money, it means they were pimping $$RICH$$! Having money and supplies can indicate your not dirt poor, but doesn’t absolutely mean you’re $$RICH$$!

Then you bring up a whole other issue, whether we SHOULD tithe or SHOULD give. That’s a whole other topic. I agree we should. But there is NO need to assume whatsoever that just because your theology doesn’t say that Jesus and the apostles were $$RICH$$ that that means you’re also a person who hates to give. Sometimes the less you have the more you’ll give b/c your trust is in God rather then worldly security. That’s what a lot of money does to people. The poor woman who tithed gave more according to Jesus because it was from her heart and with an attitude of trust in the Lord (Mark 12:43), and the Macedonians in 2 Cor 8 gave all they had and were poor.

So like I’ve said, we may infer from these types of passages that Jesus wasn’t dirt poor, but none of this justifies that he was $$RICH$$ either. You can see Crefflo Dollar (who says he’d change it to Crefflo Million Dollar if he could) on youtube shouting “I want my money!” because he’s demanding God for it, and he over interprets Scripture to come to the absolute unfounded conclusion that Jesus and the apostles were $$RICH$$. His gospel is poor people becoming rich, and depressed people becoming an image of success, not dead people coming to life like Jesus’ and the apostle’s gospel was.

And in John 10:10 I believe the abundant life is spiritual life, as Paul says in 2 Cor 6:10 “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

I still believe Jesus was in a very real sense physically poor (not dirt poor) given the context of 2 Cor 8:9. Paul already wrote to the Corinthians 2 chapters earlier (2 Cor 6:10 above) about how he was physically poor so they would be spiritually rich. I believe the same principle carries here when he makes the same illustration about Jesus. The context is also about being physically poor 6 verses prior in regard to the Macedonians. Yes I also believe Jesus was also poor in the Phil 2 sense in that he humbled himself and as God limited himself, but this notion is not even the context of 2 Cor 6-8! From the references I gave the context is being physically poor. And if Jesus was $$RICH$$ while also condemning the rich (even for their abuse of it) then people still would have looked at him with a tongue-in-cheek look and thought “umm, you’re a hypocrite”.

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7 comments

  1. I have a question, we have a lot of poor people in this world, they even can’t have enough food, and better living environment,think about us, we can travel around, we can go to restaurant, but they can’t do all of these in their life, why God doesn’t help them?


  2. I cried for them, I prayed for them, I don’t know how God is gonna answer my prayer. I know this is a unfair world, but at least not let those poor people being poor in their whole life, they pick food from trash can, they pick dirty clothes from trash place as well, especially those old people, they even can’t walk very well, but they have to work to struggle wiht theri life, so sad, I prayed for them over and over again, but none, everything is still same for them.


  3. Read Ecclesiastes 8. This is part of life and God is sovereign over all. Who knows, middle class Americans might eventually be extremely poor too. Many believe we’re heading into another great depression like in the 30’s. As the church we should try to help the poor, thus you can be the answer to your own prayers. But we should give them the gospel too. The gospel is more important then food and money. It’s eternal. If we only focus on this life but ignore the eternal then we’re fools.


  4. Guys,
    what was/is customary to give a king back then and today?


  5. Jeff, I’d say whatever an authority over us wants from us, we should give it, considering it’s not sinful. I’m not sure though. What do you think?


  6. Hi Cameron,
    Sure I guess. What I was asking/thinking was to reference what was customary to give to a king as a gift in the form of today’s $. I looked but didn’t find anything but have heard that it’s an enormous amount.


  7. I’m really not sure, let alone what the proper conversion of its worth would be in U.S. currency. I do know that Jews in the first century were under the control of Rome and were forced to pay the Roman tax with a denarius which was worth a whole days wages.



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