Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Was Jesus Rich?

Jesus was given gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh as a 2 year old child. The frankincense and myrrh were worth more than the gold!
Matthew 2: 11, "And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
Jesus inherited His earthly father Joseph's home, and also Joseph's family business, according to the culture of His day, since He was the eldest Son
Jesus was not just carpenter. His business was a family business, probably called "Joseph and sons." Jesus was actually a builder of houses, as well as the tables and chairs in them! He built houses, complete with the roof, walls, doors, windows, tables, chairs and beds. In Israel today can be seen replica New Testament villages.
The two main businesses in Israel during the lifetime of Jesus were the building of homes, and fishing. Fishing was the high tech industry of the day, feeding thousands of people every day on the Via Maris, as well as the entire population of Israel. Jesus' disciples were the New Testament equivalent of today's City Traders!

Jesus Christ created the entire universe
Jesus Christ created the entire universe, in six days (please see our teaching on Creation: The Genesis Account on this web site). The Bible records:
- John 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made".
- Colossians 1:15-17,"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him".
Jesus Christ's occupation was Master Builder
Jesus Christ's occupation was a master builder before His Earthly ministry.
Jesus Christ is now the Master Builder of our lives
Jesus Christ is still the Master Builder, transforming us, little by little, into His Likeness. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you".
Jesus Christ builds our lives, as recorded in 2 Corinthians 3:18-4:1, "But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him" TLB.
Jesus Christ is the best possible foundation on which to build our lives
Jesus said, in Luke 6:47-49, "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
Jesus is now the Master Builder of our lives.
It is recorded in John 19: 23-24, "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be."
Have you ever owned a seamless article of clothing? Probably not! Jesus' tunic would have to be woven on a special loom, to fit Jesus exactly. It was very expensive! Remember that Israel was a third world country occupied by Roman soldiers.
A well dressed Jesus, dressed as a Rabbi, would have been a most unusual sight in this poverty stricken deeply unpopular part of the Roman Empire. Jesus was also much taller than most Jewish adult men of his time, at 5ft 11, according to Dr Robert Bucklin, in our teaching The Shroud Of Turin Proves The Resurrection on this web site.
Have you ever seen a poor person with a treasurer? Judas Iscariot was no ordinary treasurer. Judas was a thief! This is recorded in John 12:6, "He (Judas) was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it".
However, the point is that Jesus carried his money in a Money Box. He had 12 regular disciples, but in Luke 10:1 appointed 70 more! Jesus paid for everything as He travelled around, using His treasurer, Judas Iscariot, as well as distributing huge sums of money to the poor.
For three and a half years Judas stole money from Jesus every single evening, as Judas went out to distribute Jesus' money to the poor (see John 13:29). All Christians are commanded to feed the poor, just like Jesus did, in Matthew 25:31- 46:
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
"Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Many Christians still steal from Jesus Christ, from His financial channels intended to feed the hungry, provide water to drought ridden lands, and provide clothing and shelter to the destitute. Sadly we have seen corruption and theft all over the world, very often within Christian churches!
In fact, corruption is now such a problem that many Christians, and even governments of certain countries, are genuinely perplexed about how best to get financial aid and resources to the correct people, without these resources being stolen en route.
The less said about this the better, except to warn most strongly that those people who steal from God will be answerable to God Himself! God knows every detail of our financial transactions, as we have seen over and over again in our own lives.
Jesus was completely relaxed about money. He never worried about it at all. In fact, He demonstrated an extraordinary attitude to money, which is unique, as far as we know!
By way of illustration, we all keep our money safely in a bank. We have plastic credit and debit cards in our wallets, which we keep safely. And we would never tell anyone our pin number, or password. If money or credit cards are stolen, we call the police, the bank, and our insurance company, in that order!
Would you keep your money with a thief? Well, Jesus did, for three and a half years, on purpose, with the full knowledge that Judas stole from him every single day!
There must have been a great deal of money in the treasury, or the other disciples would have noticed that some money was missing, every single day. If there had been very little money in the money box, the other disciples would certainly have noticed, and realised that Judas was a thief.
However, there was obviously a great deal of money in the cash box (see later), which is why, for three and a half years, the other disciples never noticed that Judas was stealing every single day!
What would the "sons of thunder" (James and John) have done to Judas if they had found out that Judas was stealing money from the treasury? They would probably have killed Judas! After all, they were not called "sons of thunder" for nothing! They were certainly not wimps!
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter had every intention of killing the soldier who was arresting Jesus at night. Peter actually missed the soldier's cranium, and cut off the soldier's ear instead! But that was not his intention! Peter intended to split the soldier's skull open, but missed!
Jesus said nothing about Judas' daily theft from the treasury on purpose. Jesus probably saved Judas' life by saying nothing. The two "sons of thunder", James and John, and probably Peter as well, would almost certainly not have tolerated Judas for more than 5 minutes if they had discovered what was going on!
We often see amazing corruption amongst Christians. We never say anything, since it is not our place, but we are still horrified. How much more horrified must God be?
We read in Mark 6:35-37, "When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat. But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"
A denarius was a day's wage, according to Matthew 20:1-2, "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard."
The disciples were asking Jesus a financial question. In effect, they asked Jesus, "Shall we spend 200 days wages?"
Let us suppose that you were one of the disciples
1. Think of how much you, or the wage earner in your family, earned in the last 12 months.
2. Have you thought of a figure, whatever it is?
3. Now, do a little calculation and work out a figure for eight month's wages.
4. Do you have a new figure now, of eight month's wages?
4. Now, imagine yourself in this situation.
6. Imagine yourself asking Jesus, "Shall we go and spend eight month's wages to feed this crowd of 15,000 people?"
7. The disciples obviously had the money!
8. They simply said, "Shall we spend eight month's wages on food?"
How much money was in Jesus' treasure box?
Now, we want you to try to be real about this, and try to imagine yourself in the situation of the disciples:
- If the eight month's wages represented all the money, the disciples would have been more than a little anxious! Before spending all of the money in the treasury, they would have wanted to check with Jesus that this is what He really meant! They would have said: "Shall we spend all the money?"
- If the eight month's wages represented half the money, the disciples would have said, "Shall we spend half the money?"
- If the eight month's wages represented a quarter of the money, the disciples would have said, "Shall we spend a quarter of the money?"
Here is what we believe, based on human nature
We believe that the eight month's wages represented only a small amount of the money, or the disciples would have made that perfectly clear to Jesus. We believe that, in all probability, the eight months wages represented only 10% of the money in the treasury.
If that is the case, then Jesus' treasury had 80 months wages in the treasury. That is more than six and a half years wages! This money had been legitimately earned. Also, Jesus was feeding the poor out of this treasury every single evening.
It was a remarkable amount of money to be carrying around. Can you imagine carrying around nearly seven years wages with you? No wonder Jesus said that the disciples could have two swords to defend themselves!
By the way, Jesus not just have 12 disciples, He had a total of 82 disciples, as recorded in Luke 10:1, "The Lord appointed seventy also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go."
How much money do you think he actually spent every month housing and feeding 12 disciples, and occasionally an additional 70 disciples, plus paying taxes, plus giving money away to the poor every single day?
Jesus' ministry was very expensive to run!
That is why He had appointed a treasurer, and carried 80 months wages in the money box!

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