A friend sent me an article where some teachers of the "prosperity gospel" claim Jesus was not poor. I shouldn't be surprised — this is natural considering what they teach — but I am; the picture painted in the Gospels has been understood for almost 2000 years to mean Jesus was poor.
I can't believe Jesus was rich when He was described as living off others' charity (Luke 8:3).
But the bigger issue here is one that anyone can fall victim to.
These folks are torturing the scriptures to make them conform to a pre-determined theology. I'm sure they'd say their theology is based in the scriptures (everyone does), but the problem comes when, after getting your system down, you start to judge the scriptures by your theology rather than your theology by the scriptures.
Don't get me wrong — there are difficult passages in the Bible that only make sense when interpreted in light of other, understood passages. That's normal and necessary.
But we must always be willing to re-evaluate our theology in light of scriptures we haven't considered before (or recently).
Mary and Joseph offered the sacrifice of a poor person (Luke 2:24, c.f., Lev 12:8) after the birth of Jesus. They were then given valuable gifts (though we're not told how valuable) that certainly made the flight to Egypt easier. But how long did that last? We don't know.
But we do know that the adult Jesus is described as homeless (Matt 8:20) and dependent on the charity of some of His disciples. He died a slave's death and was placed in a borrowed tomb. He had to ask someone to take care of His mother, and His apostles all lived off charity.
Is this the description of a rich man? Only if your theology requires it to be.
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