When someone mocks the name, symbol, and word of our Lord and Savior, none of these mockeries upsets me more than when Jesus is painted as some free-love, tree-hugging, hakuna matata communist. As I say in all of my articles, it’s most frustrating to see how the church has begun to believe this lie while ignoring the biblical Jesus who was immensely merciful and yet so offensive that it got him killed. According to post-modernism, Jesus Christ is now a pacifist, a Glee fan, and an active member of the Socialist Party USA. Oh, and he was also homeless.
But let us analyze these claims with the facts of the scripture. In Matthew 14, Jesus feeds five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Some use this passage as argument that Jesus would be an advocate of governmental provision of food. However, this passage shows a multiplication of wealth and not a socialist division of it; Jesus did not take a little bit of fish and bread from everyone else to feed the lesser privileged. Furthermore, when the disciples asked Jesus to send everyone into the town to buy food for themselves after a long day, He says no, you feed them. Yeshua did not say take them to the nearest soup kitchen or let the government do it, He placed the responsibility of feeding the hungry on His followers as individuals, not on the rulers of a nation.
Then there is welfare-Jesus, the one who went around doling out gold like some sugar daddy. When Christ spoke of the final judgment in Matthew 25, He explains how the hungry are fed, the thirsty have drink, strangers are welcomed, the naked are clothed, and the sick and prisoners are visited by the righteous. Aside from the rich young ruler, seldom does Christ command His followers to give money or possessions to the poor.
Moreover, new age Christians use the early church in Acts 4 as justification for wealth redistribution. In this passage, the apostles were given the proceeds of property sales by some believers so that there would not be any need among them. Firstly, the few believers who had the resources to give such charity did it out of their own volition, it was not forced upon them by the apostles, a new tax law, or some other government mandate; the land-owning believers did it out of their love for Christ and His church. It would probably scare us to know how few Jesus lovers advocate welfare while financially supporting their local ministry.
Moreover, church hipsters do not take into account the trials believers were facing at that time. You could not profess Christ and walk down to the local Starbucks to get a barista job — they would haul your happy butt down to the lion’s den and sell tickets to watch you get torn apart. Also, Starbucks did not exist back then so young Christians were definitely under tribulation.
Surely, no one could interpret the word and works of Christ as properly as the first century apostles did. They were far more enlightened and could therefore provide us with a more accurate depiction of what Christ wanted from His followers when it came to work and charity. Therefore, let us turn to the trailblazer of our faith, Paul.
In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul condemns those who are idle and busybodies; he even goes as far to say that those who do not work, shall not eat. In the last verses of Acts 20, he also talks about how he refrained from coveting anyone’s gold and silver and that the work of his hands not only ministered to his own needs but also the needs of others. I’m not sure Paul would have been at an occupy camp, but what do I know? I’m just a heartless conservative.
Finally, there is the plaguing lie that Jesus was homeless. Christians have taken Matthew 8:20 way out of context and have begun to believe that Jesus somehow managed to be a bum all while holding down a carpenter’s job, paying for his and Peter’s taxes, and wearing clothes which even the Roman guards who killed him found them nice enough to gamble over.
Are we not reading the first chapter of John’s gospel anymore? Jesus not only shows two of His disciples where His house was, but they were also able to stay there for the night. I do not know many homeless people that could host two guests in one night, much less one guest on any night. Accordingly, Jesus was a traveling minister and there weren’t exactly hotels beckoning him to come and stay for the night. Context people, context.
As believers, we should be careful if we begin to see Jesus through some effeminate, apathetic, youth-group lens. I think many of us forget that He was the Son of God who came down to pay a debt He did not owe and that we could not pay. When we start adding character features to Him which are not biblical, we should not wonder why our sphere of influence has shrunk to the size of a mustard seed. Amen.
Image: Conrad Noel (1869-1942), The “Red Vicar of Thaxted”, famous pioneer of Christian Socialism and fervent Anglo Catholic; Prophet and Priest Bronze sculpture by Gertrude Hermes; courtesy of
geograph.org.uk snd Richard Croft