Was Jesus Really Poor?

“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)

This scripture is usually used to say that Jesus was poor, he didn’t have anywhere to sleep! Context is very important when reading scripture, if not you can make the Bible say anything you want.

So the context of the scripture above is that Jesus and his disciples were not received in a village of the Samaritans. They were traveling and had nowhere to sleep in that town that one night. Jesus did not always sleep outside. Do you see the importance of context?

Visitors at Jesus’ Birth

Do you remember the story of the wise men coming to visit Jesus? They came with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men knew that a king was just born and came to honor the new king. When they came to honor a king being of great authority themselves they came with a significant amount of gifts.

First, the men came from the east. The east is what we know as Iran, Iraq or Saudi Arabia. No one comes riding on camels for hundreds of miles to give one bar of gold. Culturally when you would present yourself before a king you would give your best as to not offend the king. Also, when traveling such a long distance one would ride in a caravan. A caravan is a group of people traveling together, often on a trade expedition. Caravans were used mainly in desert areas and throughout the Silk Road, where traveling in groups aided in defense against bandits as well as helping to improve economies of scale in trade. If you’re going to invest so much time and resources you would do so to give great gifts.

The amount of monetary value of the gifts would put Mary and her family in a good financial situation for a long time.

Jesus had a Profession

Although rarely mentioned Jesus did have a livelihood before beginning his ministry at the age of 30. Jesus was the son of a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). In Jewish culture, the son would follow the father’s footsteps and eventually take over the business.

Jesus was a carpenter. He probably took over Joseph’s business seeing how Joseph probably died when hewas young. The last time Joseph was mentioned was when Jesus was twelve years old in the synagogue. On the cross, Jesus told his disciple John to behold his mother (John 19:26-27) and from that time John took Mary to his own home. This shows that Joseph was no longer alive, had he been, John would not have to take care of Mary.

Being a carpenter was not a measly profession. He would have made a decent amount of money being a carpenter.  This can also be seen when Joseph tried taking Mary to the inn. They knew they would have to pay to stay at an inn, the reason why they did not stay there was because it was booked, there were no more available rooms!

Is Being Poor More Holy than Being Rich?

The problem with assuming that Jesus was poor is that many Christians equate being poor with being holy. Many want to be like Jesus so they reject the idea of ever prospering. We can see that Jesus was not poor the way many think. He left his palace and throne in Heaven to become poor on earth. Remember he is the king of kings! Let us renew your mind to the truth so that we can advance God’s kingdom on earth. And that usually requires a significant amount of money.