Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Was Jesus Rich?

The prosperity preachers are really reaching in order to justify their religion of opulence. For years they’ve been spouting the nonsense that, contrary to centuries of understanding, Jesus was a materially wealthy man.

You see, they have to assert this falsehood in order to legitimize their own right to wealth (after all, they are the King’s Kids). This affluence is also available to their followers, who are willing to plant a fully deductible faith-seed into their ministry.

This article from CNN.com does a good job presenting both sides of the argument that Jesus was wealthy. Here are some quotes:

[Rev. C. Thomas] Anderson says Jesus couldn't have been poor because he received lucrative gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says. "Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson.

This is an example of blatant biblical ignorance coming from a supposed Man of God. Even a cursory glance at scripture will show that there is no mention of Mary and Joseph taking a donkey on their journey. That’s just the stuff of legend used to fill out a nativity scene at Christmas time.

Also, regarding the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, it’s widely agreed that these “lucrative gifts” were used to finance their trip to Egypt (remember that – fleeing from the murderous King Herod?). Presumably, Joseph had no carpenter clients in that area, so they would have used the gifts to live on during that time.

As for the soldiers gambling for His clothing? Records from that era show that this was a typical practice. Roman soldiers routinely gambled for any intact garment of a crucifixion victim. What wasn’t typical, though, was the crucifixion of the wealthy. This torturous death was reserved for the despised slaves and rebels.

More on this in the next post.

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