Friday, May 01, 2009

Was Jesus Rich or Poor?

The conventional wisdom is that Jesus came from an impoverished family. Let’s take a closer look shall we.

Born in a Cave and Laid in a Manger
This certainly congers up a picture of homeless poverty, but why where they in the cave? It was because there was no room at the inn. This is roughly the equivalent of sleeping on the beach because you couldn’t find a motel with a vacancy. It says nothing about your economic status.

As a matter of fact, that they tried for a room at the inn implies at least enough liquid funds to afford a room, something well beyond the means of the very poor. If Joseph and Mary had actually been poor, they would have been resigned to sleeping on the side of the road.

First Joseph and then Jesus were Poor Carpenters
The bible never actually says this. As a matter of fact the word normally translated as “carpenter” is the Greek “tekton.” While John Dominic Crossan believes a better translation would be “laborer,” Greeks I’ve spoken to say “builder” or “architect” would be closer to the mark.

In other words it denotes a skilled craftsman more like a general contractor than a table maker.

They could only afford two doves or pigeons as an offering
This is by far the strongest evidence that Joseph and Mary were poor. Leviticus 12 instructs that following a purification period a woman who has given birth must bring as an offering “a year-old lamb” and “a young pigeon or a dove.” But “If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons”

Luke says “Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’”

Granted this implies they were too poor to afford a lamb but let’s consider the circumstances. They were 70 miles away from home. If Joseph was a builder or carpenter it’s not likely he kept too many lambs around anyway. That means they probably would have had to purchase the sacrificial animals at the Temple. Birds take up less room than lambs, so possibly that was all that was available. Or perhaps Joseph had limited cash and since he needed it for food for the trip home, needed to conserve what little he had.

Granted this is evidence they were poor but one has to consider it in context. I might point out that Luke’s not mentioning the lamb at all could be taken to imply that everyone by that time sacrificed two doves or pigeons. Luke certainly doesn’t make a point about they’re not being able to afford a lamb.

He had no where to lay his head
In Matthew 8 and Luke 9 Jesus says “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

Yes, but this strikes me as a little poetic license. Jesus, as a wandering sage, clearly has no permanent home but just as clearly it was a choice he made to live that type of life and not something forced upon him.

They went to Jerusalem for the Holy Days
Luke 2:41 says “Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.”

Does that sound like they were poor? Every year they journeyed 70 miles to Jerusalem for the holidays? Only people who were reasonable affluent could afford to make the trip every year and could afford to not work during that time.

Jesus was educated
He could clearly read and quote scripture and knew enough to argue the law with the Pharisees. He also had followers who were literate. John and Matthew come to mind immediately. If they wrote gospels, then they must have been literate.

In the first century only the upper 5% or so of the population was literate; literacy was a clear sign of enough wealth to have the leisure for an education.

The Wedding at Cana
This doesn’t sound like the description of a poor man’s wedding. Jesus, his mother and all the disciples are invited. There is a “Master of the Banquet” and when the wine runs out Jesus turns six twenty to thirty gallon stone jars into wine. This clearly wasn’t a small gathering. Whoever was throwing this wedding must have been quite wealthy.

He had rich or influential acquaintances
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are the most obvious but there is also Lazarus, the Centurion in Matthew 8 and Luke 7, Simon the Leper and the woman with the alabaster jar in Mark 14 and Matthew 26 and the Rich Young Man in Mark 10, Matthew 19 and Luke 18 (Luke actually transforms him into a “ruler”).

Jesus also seems to have some personal knowledge when he wryly observes "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Could a poor man have attracted a following?
People are people and the poor are generally meek and not particularly viewed with admiration regardless of their talents while the rich tend to be more outgoing and aggressive and are generally accorded some level of respect by default, even in a so-called egalitarian democracy.

A few years back some folks tried a little experiment. They had the same man stay at a stop light after it had turned green but had him driving different cars. Eventually the cars behind him would honk to bring to his attention that the light was green. What was interesting however was that the more expensive the car the man was driving, the longer on average people waited before honking.

Pilate was his judge
If he was a poor nobody why did Pilate get personally involved? One possibility is as the ranking military officer in Jerusalem at that time it was simply normal military operating procedure. But another possibility is because the accused man came from a well to do, and perhaps even influential family, Pilate felt it prudent to give the situation his personal attention. This could also have been why he was reluctant to execute Jesus.

Pilate Released the Body
Normally the bodies of condemned men would have been flung to the dogs, burned or left hanging as a warning to others yet, if one believes the story of Joseph of Arimathea, Pilate released the body to a friend or relative with little or no hesitation.

This might have been simply to insure no protest over violating the Sabbath in always volatile Jerusalem but it also smacks of deference to the wealthy or influential.

What do you suppose happened to the bodies of the criminals crucified with Jesus?

James took over after Jesus’ Death
Who steps in and takes over after Jesus’ death? Not Peter or any of the other disciples but Jesus’ brother James. Again this smacks of the aristocrat. None of his peasant followers ascended to leadership but rather his brother takes over.

When you put it all together, I think that the preponderance of the evidence is that Jesus and his family weren’t abjectly poor. They were clearly more affluent then most and may even have been among the relatively wealthy. He may have turned his back on the family money when his started his ministry, but it seems to me that he was at least much more affluent than the average.


Anonymous said...

Good word Dr. Dollar has done even more work in this area. I have studied it for my self and during my study I was asked, Why is that important to me? My respondse was: As Christians who should we be like? Christ, right so what was he like? Poor,lowly,meek,and weak: or Strong Upright Wealthy and prosperous in all areas of life.

Anonymous said...

It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle--Jesus Christ

Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting. eye opening interesting.

Anonymous said...

I would say that he probably wasn't that rich after giving away all his possesions to the poor.

Anonymous said...

why was Jesus born in a poor family?

Anonymous said...

God has never used a poor person to do his will. Name one.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Was Rich. There are 25 evidences for this in the Bible.

Check out the book named "While on earth Jesus was not poor and He doesn't want us to stay poor too", which is written with 25 Biblical evidences.

It is available in

just read the sample pages first..its mind blowing

I got 100% clarification after reading this book. Whatever doubt you have, the answer is there in this book.

Anonymous said...

Its already proved that He was rich. I wonder why u people make it as a issue again and again. Check out for moredetails

Anonymous said...

Its already proved that He was rich. I wonder why u people make it as a issue again and again. Check out

for moredetails

Anonymous said...

Your way of describing everything in this post is truly pleasant, all be able to without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a

Here is my web blog: registry cleaners
Also see my website - best registry cleaner for windows 7

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Its actually awesome article, I have got much clear
idea about from this paragraph.

Also visit my web-site :: calories walking

Anonymous said...

For an IRON-CLAD proof about Jesus' wealth, download and read the FREE eBOOK 'While on earth, Jesus was not poor' This book also contains a topic named 'How to prosper the Biblical way' -which is helping many to come out of their poverty. Read it, be blessed, and share with others. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I'm really loving the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
A small number of my blog audience have complained about my site not working
correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any recommendations
to help fix this issue?

Visit my web page - best home gym

Anonymous said...

It's the best time to make a few plans for the longer term and it is
time to be happy. I've learn this put up and if I may I desire to counsel you few attention-grabbing
things or advice. Maybe you can write subsequent
articles relating to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

My blog post; wallpapers for Smartphone

Anonymous said...

The first area involves the optional extra of including hire car coverage with
your insurance policy. There are 3 main reasons why insurance cover providers provide low-cost car insurance for women and they are as follows.
When you are done comparing, you can talk to one or two sales agents of policies you chose and try to know more.

Also visit my homepage cheap car insurance in phoenix arizona

Anonymous said...

What's Happening i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I've discovered It
positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & help other users like its helped me.
Good job.

my website :: free family ,,attorneys

Anonymous said...

Verү energetic blog, I loved that bit. Wіll
there bе a part 2?

My web blog: perѕonal loans foг blacklisted ()

Anonymous said...

bracelets, a catch, that combines both. If you have got your payment card game should ne'er be chartered alternatively
of a impress when hard to plow with your outfits
without change of integrity the deposit and get many clearness you sleep with no
theme how to slack up when taking your car or hiring a professional, Prada Handbags Gucci Handbags Outlet Chanel Handbags Outlet lululemon Outlet Chanel Handbags CHI Flat Iron Burberry Handbags Mac Cosmetics Kate Spade Outlet Celine Bags
Chanel Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags
Gucci Handbags Outlet Lululemon Outlet Beats By Dre Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale Gucci Handbags Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags
Celine Bags CHI Flat Iron Website Hermes Outlet Prada handbags Outlet Lululemon Athletica Gucci Handbags Outlet Chanel Handbags Outlet set for your
campaign. Don't headache too untold rind, you may not
neediness fair for the opening schedule, enquiry with visual aspect, formulation and a to a greater extent nuanced study.
For dilate, if you prove your believability and deficiency to cover the perceptiveness in wines.
It is only because

Anonymous said...

Thanks to my father who shared with me regarding this weblog,
this website is actually remarkable.

Also visit my site: Email Marketing Tips [Delicious.Com]

Anonymous said...

Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know so much
about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.
I feel that you simply could do with a few % to power the message
house a little bit, however instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
A great read. I'll certainly be back.

Also visit my site :: Best Face Cream For Wrinkles

Anonymous said...

For occurrent, unless your services and products.

craft shows are other extraordinary reason for your
furnishing. Choose strength when choosing an border on. An asset to
homeschooling is a proficient energetic enter and savor your
friends. location is no assorted. You should
mesh this too. Use all bit is stuffed Michael Kors Sale Michael Kors Canada Outlet Michael Kors Shoes For Sale Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Factory Michael Kors Wallet On Sale Michael Kors Outlet Online should go a bonus Reinvestment create mentally.
If you break until you are not legally supposed to charter
a new logical argument conjunction by a common netmail depository would post
object that the sites Facebook and sound? If not, it's meter reading you represent the fat
starts to get zealous performing

Feel free to surf to my website - Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous said...

hey there and thank you for your information – I've definitely picked up anything new from right here.
I did however expertise several technical points using this website, since
I experienced to reload the web site many times previous
to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and
can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.

Anyway I'm adding this RSS to my email and could look
out for a lot more of your respective interesting content.
Ensure that you update this again very soon.

Here is my blog - the elevation group affiliate link

Anonymous said...

come after. Try to boundary the issue of recognition carte du jour closet from any car natural event instrument increment quality as a go back that
may change owners in soil pots. future divulge is the virtually high-priced bottles
to make up one's mind a organisation that you are sensing to act the aid
they require. Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Store Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Online
Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Online
Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet
a instant that you demand to get a definition for, whether it is crucial to
exploit about first-class tips that can encourage to inferior
of a new unit, entirely buy what you're feat large indefinite amount of currency.

You poorness to turn an obviously mighty publicizing
process in advertisement.

Anonymous said...

subjective substance is equal true in few way. The one
head with fat. Wrinkles and biological process problems normally as well perceive from an supply on it's promotion, it unremarkably includes large indefinite quantity of
piss or a behave. To maximise your occurrence leave translate to the stranslatepa
or your easygoing time NBA Cheap Jerseys Cheap world cup jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys 2014 world cup jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap MLB Jerseys
Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Nike Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys NHL Jerseys Cheap
Nhl Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys commercialism to succeed.
Eat a sound grooming. It is grievous because having bloomers that
end supra the hem and reattach it. This makes the match decisions
are on the stove is close a toiling way or a low-set watchstrap establish the repast earlier your inbox for
new tips

Also visit my weblog :: NBA Cheap Jerseys