“Was Jesus rich/wealthy?”Our Saviour and King wasborn in a place where animals were kept? He then laid in the animals’ food trough? Surely, God’s Son deserved a high-profile birth in the most elegant of surroundings. But, instead, God’s own Son made His appearance on earth in the lowliest of circumstances. This humble birth conveys an amazing message to creation: the transcendent God condescended to come to us. Instead of coming to earth as a pampered, privileged ruler, Jesus was born in meekness, as one of us. He is approachable, accessible, available—no palace gates bar the way to Him; no ring of guards prevents our approach. The King of kings came humbly, and His first bed was a manger.
As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus is as rich as God is rich. Indeed, our Lord owns everything and possesses all power, authority, sovereignty, glory, honour, and majesty (Isaiah 9:6Micah 5:2John 1:1, 8:58, 10:30, 17:5Colossians 1:15-18, 2:9-10Hebrews 1:3).
Yet during the time Jesus was here on earth, He willingly relinquished His eternal riches and most of the privileges of His deity. Becoming poor indeed, our Lord took on the nature of a lowly and humble servant
Zechariah 9:9Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.
2 Corinthians 8:9
You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
And by the time our Saviour endured the tortures of the cross for us, His earthly possessions amounted to no more than the clothes on His back which were divided up by the soldiers who crucified Him.Sadly, however, there are many prosperity preachers today who would like you to believe that Jesus was rich while here on earth and that God wants nothing more than to lavish His children with an abundance of material blessings.
After all, a rich Jesus would certainly make it easier for them to persuade their flock that God wants them to be rich too.
However, a materially rich Jesus Christ is utterly incompatible with biblical truth. Even a cursory examination of the Bible should dispel any notion of our Saviour being wealthy in an earthly sense.
During His public ministry, Christ and His disciples depended entirely on the hospitality of others as they ministered from town to town .
Matthew 10:9-109 “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveller’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
As Jesus told a would-be follower
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
It is unfortunate, then, that this false teaching about Christ’s wealth and its concomitant “gospel of greed” has gained a foothold in churches today. As Solomon aptly taught, however,
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.We can see that Paul addressed similar matters in his own churches: Romans 16:17-1817 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.
Paul’s terse commentary in his first letter to Timothy regarding those who think godliness is a means to financial gain captures the essence of Christ’s numerous teachings on the dangers that accompany a heart bent on the accumulation of earthly treasure:
1 Timothy 6:9-109 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Indeed, the New Testament is filled with lessons where Jesus chides the rich and praises the poor. Jesus saidLuke 12:1515 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Abundance of his possessions)
Matthew 6:19-2119 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Our Lord, who knows the hearts of men, is aware of the deceitfulness of riches and what a considerable stumbling block wealth can be. The sentiment of Proverb 30:8-9 which declares 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
and reverberates through the entirety of God’s Word.
Thus, it would be a strange paradox indeed—and one that would certainly dilute the gospel message—if Jesus Christ was a member of the rich class of people who, as He declared, would find it so difficult “to enter the kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 19:2323 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Was Jesus rich/wealthy?
Did Jesus live as a wealthy man during His time on earth? According to the New Testament, He did not. Rather, He was born in a manger (Matthew 1; Luke 2), lived as an immigrant in a foreign country and suffered and died for His teachings
Matthew 2:13-1513 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother,15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”
He even had to borrow a coin to teach about taxesLuke 20:2424 “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He lived without a homeMatthew 8:2020 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man[a] has no place even to lay his head.”
He lived in a small townMatthew 2:19-2319 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
He performed a miracle in order for Peter to find money to pay their taxesMatthew 17:24-2724 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house.But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter?Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?”26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.“Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free!27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.
Where did Jesus get the income He needed to eat and live? In His early adult years, it appears He lived at or near His family’s home in Nazareth, working as a carpenter. Upon entering His public ministry,He relied on the generosity of others, moving from one location to another as a travelling teacher.
Luke 8:1-3 summarizes this time period:Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
He was officially homeless during this time on earth.Luke 9:5858 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Instead, He and His followers sometimes slept outside or likely stayed with friends such as Lazarus.In contrast, many prosperity teachers claim that faithfulness to God will result in financial prosperity. Yet Jesus clearly lived a sinless life
Hebrews 4:1515 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
He lived with humble means, even dying for His teachings.
2 Timothy 3:12 teaches,
12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Those who teach that financial giving and faithful living will result in financial prosperity do so in direct contradiction with the teachings of the New Testament.Of course, as fully God, Jesus is owner of the entire universe. Yet during His earthly life, He chose to live humbly, setting an example for others.
Philippians 2:5-8 calls believers to follow His example of humility, teaching,5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to Godand died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Jesus clearly lived a life marked by service to others, not a life marked by wealth and riches. His followers today can learn much from His example.