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the poverty of jesus

Here is the gospel in a nutshell:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

We don’t often think of Jesus as “poor.”  It’s just as likely we don’t ever think of Jesus as “rich” either.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus didn’t arrive on the scene the moment he was born in Bethlehem.  Prior to the incarnation (God becoming flesh), Jesus existed in heaven.  From the descriptions we have in scripture, it was good living in heaven.  Angels attending to his every need.  Creatures constantly worshipping him.  Streets of gold.  Jesus had everything he needed.

Sounds rich to me.

Then he gave it all up.  As Paul writes in Philippians, “Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather he made himself nothing …” (Philippians 2:5).

Jesus chose to experience the poverty of the human experience.  He willingly accepted the limitations of being dressed in flesh and blood.  When he was born in Bethlehem, it was in a barn.  His mom was a teenager girl and his dad a blue-collar construction worker.  Jesus’ first job?  A carpenter, just like Joseph.  His second job?  He entered the ministry (and we all know that is the fast track to wealth and success).  The Bible tells us he “had no where to lay his head”, a kind way of saying he was homeless.

To top it off, when he died he was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Think of that: the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, didn’t have the money to buy his own burial place.

“Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor.”

Why?  So that we might experience the richness of God.  Through the generosity of Jesus, we are allowed to be friends again with God.  Through the graciousness of Jesus, we have the opportunity to be forgiven.

What a great God we have!