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Christ said He came so we would "Have life and have it abundantly," but I always assumed that meant an abundant spiritual life, that my needs (food, shelter etc) would be met, but not that I would move into a mansion and make a six-figure salary. The messages about money, abundance, wealth and riches seem to be very conflicting to me. Are we not to pursue a good living, or are we free to make all the money we want as long as we don't love money? I could do more for the poor with money! I noticed that although Christ doesn't talk much about money that He must have had enough money to drive Judas to covet it and to . The disciples assumed that Judas was "going out to give money to the poor" at the last supper. Judas was obsessed with money - from questioning why the expensive oil a woman poured out on Christ's feet wasn't sold and the money "given to the poor," (John explains Judas kept the money box and was stealing from it.) Money was there - Christ has the disciples "buy what we need" for dinners several times. It's not inexpensive to feed 12-70 disciples. The only time Christ multiplies fish and loaves that we know of, is when it glorifies God to the masses.

 

Before his final year of ministry Christ returns to his house, or is found in His house. He didn't wander homeless (that I can tell) for all three straight years of His ministry. Christ socialized with the richest people of the time - not likely if He were just some poor schmuck - as so many people assume He was. He may have been a carpenter, but He was so much more!  The Rabbi's and Rabboni of the time were the equivalent of a doctor or PhD today. They were very respected by both the Jewish people and by the Romans. But more importantly, remember - Joseph, Jesus' father - was of royal lineage. Had the Jews not been under the rule of the Romans, and had Judah been a free and independent nation, Joseph would have been King of Israel and Jesus his rightful heir. Joseph was no common man and to the people of the time - intensely aware of their genealogy, would have known that. Joseph was in line to be King!

 

There's a reason why the Pharisees took seriously the idea that Jesus might be king - he had the EARTHLY right through His genealogy as well as claiming the spiritual right through his spiritual heritage as the son of God. If He DID manage to become an earthly King, as they feared, their power in the Roman senate and among both the Romans and Jews would disappear forever because they KNEW the Messiah's kingdom would be forever - as told in the Talmud.

 

That's going around the barn a bit, but looking at abundant life - What is Christ's stance on wealth and money? He uses money in His parables, and as far as I can tell, He doesn't forbid wealth or diminish it - He is opposed to a "love of money" and says it's hard for a rich man to get into heaven. What is your take? Are we to take a vow of poverty and scrape by? Or not to worry about how much we make as long as we don't "love money more than God"?

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Becky,

I will agree with your conclusions for the most part, but will question(I don't have the time to research this) your assumptions about Jesus' social status, or that Joseph would have been King without the Roman rule.  And Jesus did speak about money, wealth, etc. quite a bit.  There are over 2000 verses in the Bible relating to the issue of money or wealth.  I rely alot on 1 Tim 6:6-11, 17-19 and 2 Cor 9:6-15.  YOu didn't raise the issue but the scriptures warn us against debt also.  Maybe this will help a little. God bless this new year.

Jeff

Thanks Jeffrey! I think you're right - God does warn against either monetary extreme, but He is also a realist and makes provision for poverty - with the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament, and the care of widows and orphans in the New. He also brings a widow's only son back to life as his body is being led away for burial - ensuring the widow is cared for. It's not a sin to be poor, but those who worship or idolize money are warned they'll have a difficult time getting into heaven.

 

I don't know what to say as far as your disagreeing with me over a subject you say you haven't researched or don't have time to research. I have researched it and my statements are not assumptions based on my personal opinion, but on what I have read and researched and can attribute to scholars and students of the time and customs.

 

Christ was MORE than just a teacher and Rabbi - as the New Testament says on several occasions, he "Taught with authority" meaning he was such a gifted Rabbi he was able to bring new interpretations to the Scripture. Here's a great explanation of a Rabbi to back that up. He grew in stature with God and men. He was not a prophet shuffling along in a burlap sack hoping people would listen to what He had to say. He was in much demand, highly respected and sought after. He was so powerful spiritually and personally that the highest leaders of the time felt threatened and jealous of His popularity. He was not motivated by money and not threatened or intimidated by the constraints  they were. He was, by anyone's standard, a rebel. He was an artisan/craftsman in a very small rural area and restricted His ministry for the most part, to rural areas where people understood his parables about sheep, agriculture, wine-making and fishing. Yet He was also only three to four miles from a major city, Sepphoris, He never mentions.

 

As far as Joseph - throughout the Bible the one thing that stands out is the emphasis on a person's genealogy, who begat whom - and with good reason. Many Kings came to rule through force, but David was selected by God, anointed by Samuel, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. God promised him one of his direct descendants would be the eternal King of Israel. I think the fact God selected Joseph to be Christ's earthly father is a pretty strong indicator that not only was he a just man, but one with whom God held to be the man who would help shape His son and one that could/might have been King - selected of God - had the Romans not ruled.

 

Roman rule was necessary for God's plan for Christ to happen - so that's a moot point, but I think it's pretty clear that Joseph was a man who worshiped God, and that God selected to be Christ's earthly father. The genealogy of Christ - whether it was Joseph or Mary's lineage that goes back to King David, is hotly debated among academics who question the accuracy of the gospels and wonder if Luke and Matthew's accounts are oral tradition or pieced together from various things they heard or knew at the time. It depends on how much you believe in the infallibility of the Word. I believe that both Mary and Joseph are from David's lineage and that the Apostles take great care to mention that lineage for a reason.

 

"Matthew emphasizes, right from the beginning, Jesus’ title Christ—the Greek rendering of the Hebrew title Messiah—meaning anointed, in the sense of an anointed king. Jesus is presented first and foremost as the long-awaited Messiah, who was expected to be a descendant and
heir of King David,  so the genealogy serves the essential purpose of demonstrating this.... Thus, Matthew begins by calling
Jesus son of David, indicating his royal origin, and also son of Abraham, indicating that he was a Jew; both are stock phrases, in which son means descendant, calling to mind the promises God made to David and to Abraham."

 

Here's a diverse overview and commentary of how several religious scholars would describe Jesus' social status. As they point out, there was no middle class at the time - only the "haves and have nots."

 

Thanks for your response.

OK Becky,

I can agree with you as you further explain your point of view.  I misunderstood your comment that Joseph could have been King if the Romans had not ruled at the time, however now that you state because God could have chose Him because of his faithfulness I understand.  I had taken you to mean his royal linage automatically would have made him king.  I was thinking of the first-born track to kingship.

 

I read your Rabbi reference--very inciteful.  However, I don't necessarily come to the conclusion Jesus followed the training in that reference.  Your description of Jesus, which I agree with, demonstrates He was a rebel, revolutionary, radical. HE wasn't one of them.  So I think its possible He didn't follow the normal rabbi trac.  His authority, power, etc came in His divine nature.

Grace and Peace,

Jeff

 

Thanks Jeffrey.

 

Just trying to understand the times and traditions helps understand how unique He really was. Grace to you too!!

 

 

Becky

 

 

Jeffrey Knight said:

OK Becky,

I can agree with you as you further explain your point of view.  I misunderstood your comment that Joseph could have been King if the Romans had not ruled at the time, however now that you state because God could have chose Him because of his faithfulness I understand.  I had taken you to mean his royal linage automatically would have made him king.  I was thinking of the first-born track to kingship.

 

I read your Rabbi reference--very inciteful.  However, I don't necessarily come to the conclusion Jesus followed the training in that reference.  Your description of Jesus, which I agree with, demonstrates He was a rebel, revolutionary, radical. HE wasn't one of them.  So I think its possible He didn't follow the normal rabbi trac.  His authority, power, etc came in His divine nature.

Grace and Peace,

Jeff

 

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