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Was Jesus Poor?

My Thanks, for this article, to my friend and Guest Writer, Pastor John Stemmons, Amazing Grace Bible Church, Fujisawa, Japan - 042408 rv.112009,


Money and prosperity are certainly side issues in Christianity, but important ones; 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.

 Religious tradition often contradicts scripture.

Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

I want to know what God has to say about riches, instead of relying on tradition to teach me! I believe from scripture that God wants us to have money...he just doesn't want money to have us! God also wants us to possess humility, but religious tradition has wrongly equated humility with poverty. Are rich people proud and 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 mental attitudes and are not tied to money. Pride actually leads in the direction of poverty. Think about it.

 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.

The issue of this passage is not about whether Jesus had 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 may have had 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. And if Jesus didn’t have a home, that would not prove that he couldn’t have had one.

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. If you were being crucified, would they gamble for your clothing?

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.

 People don’t have to pay taxes if they don’t make any money. Jesus paid his taxes, and that takes money. Therefore, he must have had income. Money was not a problem for Jesus! There is no scripture telling how Jesus worried about paying his bills!

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.

Jesus’ ministry team consisted of twelve disciples who had given up their jobs to follow him. How could they live without money? The bible tells us that many people gave into the ministry of Jesus.

Luke 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Jesus had enough money to require a treasurer, one who was stealing from the bag (treasury). Jesus knew it and didn’t stop him.

John 12:6 This he said, not that he (Judas Iscariot) cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

When Jesus died, he was placed in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Some have taught that Joseph provided the tomb because he pitied Jesus. If pity was the motive, then why didn’t Joseph give tombs to really poor people? Joseph and Nicodemus were disciples of Jesus. They didn’t pity Jesus…they worshipped him!

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Anyone who has read the Bible’s description of Heaven must agree that it smacks of ostentatious wealth.

Revelation 21:18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Jesus is God, but came to earth as a man. This would certainly be a major step down in terms of prosperity.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians are about giving and money.

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.

Jesus became poor relative to his previous situation so that we might become rich! This is called a covenant exchange. If you don’t understand covenant, it may not make sense to you. Learn about covenant, it is very important to understanding the Bible.

The Bible gives many warnings about lusting for riches. God teaches us how to handle money. As we learn God’s ways of handling money, more of it will flow into our hands. God is the source of prosperity, not your talent, hard work, education or good luck.

Proverbs 23:4a. Labour not to be rich:
Proverbs 28:20b...but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Proverbs 28: 22. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
1 Timothy 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 Timothy 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.

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? 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. Prosperity is not so that we can just hoard money and things, but rather so that we can give on God’s behalf. Believing that poverty is godly is really just an excuse for people who have not prospered God’s way. The truth sometimes hurts.

God pays his own bills through those he trusts with money. God never gets hungry, but if he did, he would never come to you and ask for a sandwich.

PSALMS 50:9. 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.


Only religious tradition could get you to believe that God is after your money, the Bible NEVER teaches such a thing. Rather, the Bible shows us what God really wants: God is after your heart!

Prosperity is really a greater “test” than poverty. Think about it.
Matthew 13:22b…and 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:

God wants us to be spiritually rich, to be sure, but taken in context, this verse is teaching about money.

 Money is neither good nor evil. It is spiritually neutral and takes on the characteristics of whoever has it. It is not wrong to want money or have money. It is wrong to let money take the place in your heart that is reserved for God alone.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

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. Is everyone who owns a house and a car proud? Are all homeless people humble? Have you been double-minded in your thinking about prosperity and poverty?

James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Have you prospered? For shame! If poverty is what God wants for us, then ask your boss to stop paying you, and refuse any and all raises in pay. Sell your house and live under a bridge! Everyone knows that all homeless people are highly spiritual. If, after reading this you still believe that it is better to be poor…I am here to help you! Send your money to me. I will be happy to suffer the great evil of prosperity so that you can have the great blessing of poverty, but please don’t get too proud of it!

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Dr. Jay Snell: Author of several books concerning the healing, prosperity, family well being and salvation contained in the Abrahamic covenant for Christians. These books presented many times on TBN. Healing information galore on our Home Page.


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