Did Jesus Have NO Money and Set an Example of Poverty for Us to Follow?
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 4 in a series of Bible lessons on unlocking the “Myths of Jesus” found in the church. This lesson is a follow-up and another attempt at setting the record straight. If you have not read the first lesson I might suggest that you go and start with “Part 1“. According to a recent video that I saw on Facebook from a preacher, he claimed that Jesus must have taken a vow of poverty and set a humble example that we should all follow. Using only his religious philosophy he portrayed a Jesus who suffered physical pain and therefore we should tolerate pain with the same level of humility. He further went on to say that my Jesus was born into a poor family and implied this is where we all should be also. Then He went on to say that Jesus was homeless, often hungry and could not even pay His own taxes. I’ll start this discussion by asking you a simple question, why was it necessary for a homeless poverty stricken hungry man to even pay taxes? Does your government tax people when they have nothing or does your government give the poor people food stamps, housing subsidies and welfare to help them? Was Jesus dependent upon the generosity of people to survive or was Jesus a blessing to others as a man of means? I guess how you see your goverment depends upon who your government is. Giving to the poor is certainly a descriptive view of the U.S. democratic government. Maybe things are different now than they were back then, I do not know for sure, since I was not there. I do know what the Bible says on this subject however so let’s find out if Jesus was a poor Jesus example for us to follow. We’ll begin with His childhood:
Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Poor people did not live in houses even in Jesus’ day. Joseph and Mary must have owned a house and lived in it in order for the wise men to find them there. Then the wise men from the east come to their house and what did they bring with them to the house? Are they not gifts to give to the child Jesus? If some men from one country come to another country to visit a new born king, what kind of gifts do they bring? You have to understand that these men were bringing gifts to a king in their mind and not just gifts for a baby shower. These were no little nothing gifts of insignificant value. These were great gifts fit for royalty in large enough quantities so they would not offend the king or the family of the king. Examine the key word in this verse and research the definition. The key word in this verse in Matthew 2:11 is “treasures”. The wisemen are said to be bringing their treasures to Jesus. If you look up the word “treasures” it means “wealth”. What does wealth mean to you? Are you wealthy physically? If you are not then you are not like Jesus was. Understand based upon this information Joseph and Mary were now set for life after this encounter and this meant Jesus was never poor either. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were the three types of gifts that were given and they all had great value and wealth attached them by definition. If they rode to the house on camels they could have had saddle bags full of the stuff. We are not told how much was presented, but logically speaking it had to be the size of a gift that would not be laughed at by the royal recipient. What if these men wer bringing their gifts to Ceasar in Rome? What type of gifts would they have brought that would not have gotten them thrown into prison or killed? What would have impressed Ceasar? You see if you change your perspective you will begin to see a different type of Jesus and the men that came to honor Him. How do you get a poor Jesus out of this information? I cannot fathom the blindness or the creativity that it takes to write this off to come up with that type of religious philosophy that preaches a poor Jesus. You are still welcome to ignore Bible verses like these or attempt to explain them away to make your own private independent views work apart from God’s Word, but that does not make your views true, it only leaves you locked into a wrong interpretation of the Bible.
Let’s back up in the story to Bethlehem before the wise men show up with their gifts of wealth. Did Joseph have money before this? Before Jesus was born, the couple was going to Bethlehem to do what? Did you know that they were going to pay taxes and participate in the nationwide census according to Luke 2:1-3? I’ll say this again that poor people do not pay taxes. It takes money to pay taxes. Joseph is called the carpenter in Matthew 13:55, so he was obviously employed and was a trade worker and that information implies that he was never poor. Carpenters were skilled laborers and not house builders like we think today. Houses were not framed by carpenters in those days when Jesus was born. Carpenters built more furniture and things out of the wood for the inside of the house. Houses were made of clay or brick normally. Anyway Jesus is born in a manger in Bethlehem because why? That is the million dollar question being presented for the prize of knowledge and truth:
Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Apparently Joseph tried to stay at the inn but they were full? Do you know you have to have money to stay at any Inn? Did you know a nine month pregnant woman does not travel very fast? By the time Joseph and Mary arrive at Bethlehem the inn is full of people and there is nowhere else for them to stay so they stay in the manger. Better than outside, but not what they had in mind either. Jesus was only born in the manger because the INN was FULL! It is very clear to me based upon Bible evidence that the family of Jesus was NOT poor if they had to go to their home city to pay taxes and they had money to stay at an inn. So why do people say they were poor? I have no clue!
Now, let’s examine the ministry of Jesus as a grown up. I’ll skip to the mature life of Jesus as a grown man now being 30 years old and see what is being told to us about Him. Did you know that the ministry of Jesus had a treasurer? Why is it necessary to have a treasurer? The treasurer is always held responsible to manage and control the money of the organization. This is the normal duties of a treasurer. Who was this treasurer? It was Judas who would betray Him:
Joh 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
Judas we are told was the money carrier for the ministry of Jesus. The “bag” that is referred to in this text contained money. When things needed to be bought with money, then it was taken from the bag and they bought it. You can clearly see in this verse that the disciples thought that Jesus was speaking to Judas and saying for him to take some of the money in their possession and either spend it to buy some things that they needed or to give it to the poor. Uh oh? That is a problem for a poor Jesus philosophy, isn’t it? We are given two direct reasons for Jesus having money and they are very clear. You either need stuff or you give stuff to others. Let’s look at another example in the Gospels of Jesus’ ministry. What happened one day when Jesus was ministering to a group of 5000 on a hillside? After everyone was there for a long time Jesus makes a request to the disciples and the disciple’s reaction is absolutely priceless:
Mar 6:37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people and the disciples said we don’t have any money to do this? No that is not what the disciples said, is it? Why would a poor Jesus even make that kind of ridiculous statement if it was impossible for them to do it? Jesus is clearly confused or He was not poor. The disciples estimated that it will cost them nearly 200 pennies worth of bread to buy enough food for this many people and this is clearly almost a year’s wages to them. Do they have that much money on them in their possession when they made this statement? They must have it in their possession or this would be a very stupid response to make to Jesus’ command. I do not believe that Jesus was poor; if they had enough money with them to feed the 5000 they had a lot of money on them. How many peopl have you ever fed? Ever been to resturaunt and paid the bill for everyone? This is what Jesus was telling them to do. However, the problem was that they were in the middle of nowhere and there wwere no stores to buy anything anywhere near them, so Jesus was making a point, but they were asking if He meant for them to go away to buy the bread and then come back to give it to the people? I’m telling you verses like these reveal volumes of information to me that are ignored by many Christians. Read what Jesus tells His disciples in another place in the Gospels:
Mar 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Mar 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Did you know that you do not have to tell men that have no money not to take their money with them? This is not rocket science. Here we have it recorded in plain sight that Jesus is telling His disciples to leave their money at home with their wives and to go out in faith and the disciples heard it and obeyed. It is very obvious to me that all of these men had money to leave and it implies that they all had personal purses that they carried with them normally. This means their money was separate from the money in the bag that Judas carried. Do you understand this? Do you think this is a trick question? Does Jesus tell men with no money not to take any money? That would be very stupid for God to do. All the men would have to do is to confront Jesus and say Master we have no money and this would tell us of their poor condition, but that is not recorded in the Bible so therefore it did not occur. Here is another lesson that Jesus taught on money:
Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Mar 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
When you read the Gospels you find that Jesus taught more on money than probably any other subject. If poor people came to learn a teaching about money from a poorer man than they were, they would be very stupid. What would the reaction to that be today? In today’s world a poor homeless man would be laughed out of the city. If Jesus was a homeless destitute man as this preacher claimed he is not qualified to teach on the subject of money since he could not obviously manage it properly. You never take advice from a man who has nothing to teach you about how to manage your money. Today, I would rather listen to Warren Buffet or Bill Gates on the subject of money than to listen to any homeless poverty stricken man on the street. If you think this is different today than back when Jesus was on the earth you are very foolish in your beliefs. Here in Mark 10 Jesus is teaching on the subject of money and His disciple’s reaction to this teaching is what is important for you to see. In these verses Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to be saved. Then the disciples were full of excitement because they were all saved poor men? No, they said with great astonishment “who then can be saved”? This is not the common or even logical reaction of a poor man; it is more the reaction of a rich man with money. If you can’t see this, then someone needs to pray for your eyes to be opened. The disciples did not exhibit a proper reaction for poor men, they clearly demonstrated the opposite. Does this matter, you bet it does! Let’s go back to the treasurer in the ministry:
Joh 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
Joh 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Again we see a reference in context that Judas held the money bag. This verse says that money was placed in the bag and that it must have been enough money that Judas was able to steal from it without being easily observed or caught by all of the others that were with him. Do you understand this? Is that what the Bible says? Does the Bible say that Jesus had no money? You have to be totally blind or totally ignorant to remain in the doctrinal state of poverty to be like Jesus after reading Bible verses like these. If you do not have a personal treasurer handling your money and your finances, then you are obviously not being like Jesus’ example in the Gospel. If you do not have a personal accountant to manage your money then you are not following Jesus’ example that He gave to us to follow. Therefore, you are failing to follow the illustration of Jesus Christ. I’ll probably get a lot of negative hate mail because of this lesson today and probably lose some friends on Facebook. But I’m not going to ignore the Bible to satisfy their ignorant beliefs of a poverty stricken Jesus.
One statement that the preacher made was that Jesus was often hungry and this proved He was poor by his reasoning. I wonder how some people can be so selective in their Bible reading and ignore verses that are clearly right in front of them? Was Jesus ever hungry? We saw Him turn water into wine once and we can see Him taking 5 loaves and some fishes and feeding 5000 at one time and 4000 at another time in the Gospels. This does not sound like a hungry man to me.
Luk 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
It is very obvious to me that if the religious people of Jesus’ day criticized Him for eating and drinking with sinners and publicans that Jesus Christ did not go hungry. Where do you get a hungry Jesus in the Bible? Do you make it up and fabricate it or do you see where Jesus fasted for 40 days and misapply those verses to apply them to a poor hungry Jesus. The ideas of a poor Jesus do not hold up when analyzed accurately with what is recorded in the Bible. I never saw where Jesus could not eat, did not eat or could not afford to eat. If you know of those verses, then tell me where they are.
Why do people have the idea that Jesus was poor? I really do not have a clue other than the fact that the Bible makes some rare statements that can be easily taken incorrectly and misapplied to make Jesus sound like He was poor. Too often people just jump to wrong conclusions and make wrong assumptions without researching the truth. We have been given a narrow window view into the life of Jesus in the Bible. John says if everything was written about Jesus and what He did on the earth, the world could not contain the volumes of information (John 21:25). Therefore we are required to read the words that have been selected by God and rightly divide them in order to understand the examples that Jesus has set before us to follow. Let’s review a few scriptures that have been classically misunderstood about Jesus and see what they are saying. For example:
Mat 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.
You see I have heard so many people quote me this verse and try to tell me that this proves that Jesus was homeless and destitute and that interpretation is amusing to me now in the light of balancing this information with the other scriptures about Jesus. This verse is Jesus’ response to a question and a temporary personal situation and people try to apply it to areas that they are not applicable to. Jesus had a traveling ministry and went from city to city and even to far away regions to minister to the people. Jesus would travel a long ways some times and then reach a place by faith and yes need a place to stay. Here is Jesus telling a man, I have no place to stay tonight. It is like when I travel and I go to another state and drive into a town without a reservation. I can look for a hotel to see if they have a room and this is sometimes what I do. We will often go to places without a reservation or a place to stay and expect to find something. We did this once when we went to the British Virgin Islands. We tried to find a place on the internet and got a reservation, but when we got there it was not as good as it sounded so we went driving around the island looking for another place. We found a great place on the beach and it was awesome. Let’s get back to Jesus. Read the Gospels and realize that things are not always written in literal and obvious terms. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that Jesus went to the bathroom, but it does tell us that He ate so we know by simple logic that He did this. To believe that Jesus slept on the ground outside all of His adult life as a homeless man is a fallacy that neglects the fact that Jesus obviously had money from His birth. Understand that a traveling Jesus does not have to reflect a poor homeless Jesus. It only means that He left his home and went other places some times and when He did this He needed places to stay the night occasionally. Let me try to explain another classic verse:
2Co 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.
You see people like to take a part of a verse and ignore the entire verse to make a point that fits with their religious philosophy. Here it clearly says Jesus was poor. But, being poor is a relative term based upon two things; who Jesus was and where Jesus came from. It is just like I’m poor in the eyes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. But, to many people in Africa and Asia I’m very rich because I have house, a car, a cell phone and money in the bank. Jesus as you know left heaven where the streets we are told are paved with solid gold to come to the earth where I have never seen a gold paved street. Using this information we know that even Bill Gates one of the richest men in this world could be called poor by heaven’s standards. Do not pretend that Jesus lived on the earth in poverty to justify your poverty. See things in the Bible from God’s perspective first. Know that Jesus (God in the flesh) left the extreme riches of heaven to come to the earth and this He did so that we could come up to His level and standard of reality of being rich like Him. Here we have a future promise of being made rich that most would gladly agree with. But I read in the Bible that much of the reality of what Christ did for us came into effect when He rose from the dead and we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. You have to understand the difference between what was given to us already and what we are still waiting on to be given to us. The only thing that I can see that we are still awaiting for is the redemption of our bodies to be made immortal. Other than that the Bible seems to say that everything God has done has already been given to us in the past tense wording found in the New Testament.
People like to look to the coming future spiritual kingdom of God that will change their current situation around someday in the next age and they forget the Kingdom of God is here now in you and me. Rather than seeing the Kingdom has been established internally they are looking for a new external coming event. Therefore we should just all be tolerant and patient to be like Jesus was so that when He comes and takes us away that He will give us a new mansion built in heaven. That is a nice Bible truth, but that is also not the entire Bible truth. My Bible says “I am seated with Him right now in the heavenly realm” (Eph 2:6). Then in 1 John it says “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). There is an implied state of being that however Christ Jesus is right now that we are supposed to be in the same state right now. This of course could be a mental state or a spiritual state if that is all that you believe Jesus accomplished for us on this earth. However when I looked up the word “salvation” in the Greek it appears to be more all-inclusive, meaning salvation of the spirit, the mind, the emotions as well as the healing for the physical body. When Jesus was teaching the people, He would read from the book of Isaiah and tell them “God has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). What is good news to a poor man? To me it has to be that you do not have to be poor anymore. Do the research and do not take my word for it. Look up the Greek word “Sozo” and tell me what it means. It is often translated as healed, delivered, and saved. People like to criticize modern health and wealth preachers as not following Jesus’ example of poverty and suffering. However if you read what Jesus said while quoting Isaiah you find Jesus was the first health and wealth preacher that ever existed and those that continue this tradition are only following what He has taught. I guess I won’t go there in further. People like to think that this is the coming future reality and I believe it applies now to me and to you if you also believe it.
1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
I want you to see that God does not write to people and tell them to take a vow of poverty in the New Testament. God only tells them not to trust in their money. You have to have money in order to trust in money. If God writes a letter to rich people and says do not place your confidence in your money, then it is very obvious to me that it is permissible to have money if you do not place any confidence in it and become arrogant or “highminded” as this verse warns. Do not seek money; seek God as He is the one that has given us “Richly” all things to enjoy. This is really not that difficult to comprehend, yet there are Christians that will write me and tell me I’m teaching you things not found in the Bible. They obviously cannot read nor see what God wanted them to have in this life, right now. I do not fault them and I do not put them down either. People are free to do whatever they like in this world regardless of what the Bible says.
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
If God has given to us ALL THINGS that pertain to life (Past Tense), how can you exclude money from this statement? It takes money to survive in the world today. Without money you are not going to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are poorer than the people that you are trying to reach, why would they want to follow a man or a woman to become like them when they have nothing to offer? Having nothing in the world reflects on a God who has given them nothing? Your poverty is a direct reflection on your God’s character and ability to bless you. I do not care if you disagree with that statement or not. If your God cannot supply your needs, then how can He get His message of salvation, deliverance and healing to other people who are looking for the truth in all of the wrong places? If you think you are going to impress people with your good looks or your clever words then you are clearly confused. Reread the exodus of Israel from Egypt and see the types being repeated in the Exodus of the church from the earth. The children of Israel went out with the vast wealth of the Egyptians. They took all they could carry and then some and they exited Egypt in health very strong after eating the Passover lamb (a type of Christ). The nation of Israel coming out of Egypt is a type of the church today about to be taken up out of this world. If you do not believe that we are going out big in victory then you are probably staying here in Egypt and that is not good news for you. I’m not trying to be a popular Bible teacher. Because of some of the things that I teach like today’s lessons I am persecuted by my self-called brothers in Christ. I’ll end this lesson today with another story about Jesus our example to follow. If Jesus was so poor why does it say this?
Joh 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.
Joh 19:24 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.
Here we have the Roman soldiers who are crucifying Jesus dividing up the spoils of the man hanging on the cross. The coat of Jesus is described to be made without a seam. What does that mean? A seamless garment is not one that was cheap or easy to make. It was not a common type of garment worn by a poor man either. It is made upon a special loom that creates a continuous piece of cloth. This garment obviously had no patches, tears, rips or damage to it. This type of garment was one worn by kings and only the wealthy people of the day and the nobility that could afford to purchase it. In the terms of today’s clothing this was the upper end designer clothes of that day. This was the best of the best and not the clothing of a homeless man. It is very clear reading the Bible that the Roman soldiers decided to cast lots for this valuable piece of clothing and not to rip it up into pieces. Someone tried to tell me that this great rich robe was placed upon by those that crucified so that they could mock him. That is true that they take his clothes off and beat him and put a kingly scarlet robe on him. But this robe was taken from him and his clothes were returned before they crucified him. You can read this clearl in Matthew 27:31. Therefore the Roman soldiers were gambling over Jesus own clothing. So do people ever gamble over something that is worthless? If they did this they were very stupid. Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying the Roman soldiers were stupid, I think I’m saying the people who said Jesus was poor could possibly be called that, but I’m not going to go there. I want you to see that Jesus wore the best clothes and they were desired to be owned even by a paid soldier. It had to be very valuable so this information alone dispels the poverty Jesus philosophy.
There is overwhelming evidence in the Bible that Jesus was not poor if you choose to see it. God gave us enough clues to see that He lived well for human standards even though it was far from where He came from in heaven. Jesus was never sick anywhere in the Bible that I could find. Therefore, Jesus exemplified the modern health and wealth Gospel that many are being criticized for teaching today. Do you feel you are better than Jesus? If you want to remain poor and sick on the earth, I am not going to deny that unique privilege to you. Just do not criticize those that teach that we should be like Jesus and actually desire to live it out. According to the Bible, Jesus had money from His birth until His death on the cross. According to the Bible, Jesus had health from His birth until Satan killed Him on the cross. If you attempt to say that because Jesus suffered on the cross and exemplified an example of suffering for us that we should do the same, then you do not understand that Jesus laid down His life voluntarily as our sacrificial lamb to shed His blood for our salvation and redemption and you do not have to do anything to accept this free gift of His Grace other than believe and have Faith in Him. If you attempt to suffer like Jesus did for a few hours of His life on the earth then you have become a doer of the works of the law and are attempting to save yourself by making yourself worthy and fulfilling what only He could have accomplished hanging on the tree. Nowhere does it say that we should be crucified like Him to pay for our sins. I am going to stick with Jesus’ example of health and wealth the best that I can do to follow His example, and I will be happy following Him and you can do whatever you want. Let’s review what we have learned today:
- Jesus was born into a family that owned a home.
- Jesus’ step-father worked as a skilled carpenter and was required to pay taxes in Bethlehem even trying to rent a room at the inn there.
- Jesus was born into the world and as a child was given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Jesus was not hungry and was criticized for eating with sinners and publicans.
- Jesus wore fine expensive clothes of the day that were gambled over when He was crucified proving their extreme value.
- When challenged by Jesus to feed the 5000, His disciples asked “do you want us to spend a year’s wages to buy bread for this crowd?” proving they had that much money in their pockets to do this.
- The disciple Judas was the appointed treasurer of the entire ministry and this is only necessary if you have enough money to manage.
- If Judas could steal money and it goes unnoticed, then there was a lot of money in his possession.
Where is the poor Jesus in these facts? Are these easily ignored facts in the Bible? Are these easily explained away facts found in the Bible? They must both be true in order for people to teach a poor Jesus for us to follow. Please wake up and see the real Jesus recorded in the Bible. When I learned these verses in the Bible it totally changed my perspective. I knew Jesus was a great example for us to follow and that is why I am like I am today.
If you want to read other lessons that I have about did Jesus own a house on the earth you better go and read them on my blog to learn the complete truth about His examples given. I did not attempt to give you every verse in the Gospels in this lesson that I could have. Jesus teaches a lot of stuff on money and I will probably talk more about that later. However, I have given you enough witnesses to show you that there is more to the Bible than a modern man trying to say my Jesus was a homeless beggar who could not even pay His taxes. Read your Bible very, very closely and see what it actually says and do not follow me or any other man who does not give you Bible verses to back up exactly what they are saying. Even when a man appears very sincere and a dedicated Christian, he can be sincerely wrong. Also do not criticize anyone where you have no complete knowledge on the subject under discussion and make yourself to look like a fool. When God spoke to Job He said “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge” (Job 38:2). This is what probably people’s words sound like to God when they criticize the called and anointed preachers of God today who teach like Jesus did. Base your beliefs only on the Bible and ignore the doctrines of men. Who knows how many people I have offended today, but yet I did not name any names so I feel that I am justified in my Bible lesson. I did not name the preacher who inspired my lesson today by His criticism of the well-known TV preacher Joel Osteen. But, if you want to find it on YouTube I’m sure you can find it. I do not listen to Joel Osteen, but I do not criticize Him either. I will not base my beliefs on what any man teaches. I will only base my beliefs on my knowledge of the Bible that God has taught me. I would strongly recommend that you do the same and keep your mouth closed on what you do not know when you want to criticize me or anyone else. God Bless!