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Was Jesus Wealthy?


Was Jesus wealthy?


In favor of Jesus being poor:

  • When the holy family went to the temple after the birth of Jesus they made an offering of two doves (Luke 2:22-44) which was the prescribed sacrifice for those who could not afford a lamb (Lev. 12:7-8).
  • In his public ministry Jesus appears to basically be an itinerant preacher without a permanent home (Luke 9:58).
  • Almost everything in Jesus’ ministry was either gifted to him or borrowed (including his grave).

On the other hand:

  • When the Magi visit, Mary and Joseph are living in a house (Matt. 2:11).
  • They also had enough stability to travel as a family to Jerusalem for Passover (Luke Luke 2:41–51).
  • Nazareth was located near a fairly bustling city (Sepphoris) which might have provided good work for craftsmen like carpenters (Matt. 2:11; Mark 6:3).
  • Despite being a bit of a vagabond Jesus was welcomed at the feasts and dinners of the well connected and rich. If Jesus was some poor illiterate guy off the streets it seem odd for him to be able to socially fit in and be invited.

We will never know the details of the Holy Family’s assets and social status. What we can say is that in Jesus’ public ministry he did not appear to own anything and also was able to fit in with the “upper classes.”

Using Ockham’s razor my opinion would be that Jesus’ family was essentially what we would call “working class.” While not impoverished they also nowhere near rich and when Jesus entered public ministry he abandoned even the little they had for the sake of the kingdom.

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