Not poor and homeless


Some say Jesus was poor. The word-faith health-wealth preachers idiotically claim Jesus was wealthy and had a Cadillac (well, they don't say exactly this, but it's pretty idiotic nevertheless). I think Jesus was well-to-do, a successful tradesman, perhaps a contractor.

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:20)

If Jesus were homeless, where did his mother Mary live? As a good son he would certainly take care of his widowed mother. This would include providing a place for her to live and for at least the necessities of life including the costs of regular pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Jesus was well-educated and knew the scriptures; probably he had memorized them. Poor people likely had no such opportunities nor did they have access to the scriptures except hearing it at the synagogue or temple. He was comfortable conversing with the religious leaders implying he knew them growing up. I think his mother Mary was a consecrated temple virgin living among others like her and interacting with the priests and rabbis. She passed-on her vast knowledge and wisdom to her son Jesus.

Upon beginning his teaching ministry and gathering disciples, Jesus began to be considered as a Rabbi, meaning, teacher. But he was not a Rabbi before that. Some claim he had to be a Rabbi or he would not have been allowed to speak in the synagogues, but I doubt this. For example, if you go to a Sikh Gurudwara service as a guest wearing a turban, they will probably invite you to speak even if they don't know you. We are used to thinking of a sermon-based service in which only the leaders speak, but this is not necessarily the norm for all times and all places.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

Often overlooked is what became of these gifts. Presumably they were very valuable, enough to make Joseph and Mary wealthy. Perhaps they lived off the money from these for decades. Perhaps Jesus used the money to pay for his ministry and to pay for renting the upper room. There is a tradition that Mary lived in a small room attached to the same building as the upper room.

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! (John 19:26)

Jesus looked after his mother Mary and somehow even provided for her while he was away on his travels. She may have followed him along with his disciples from time to time.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (Matthew 2:16)

It appears Jesus and Mary stayed in Bethlehem until Jesus was about two years old. Perhaps Joseph was able to find work there; perhaps his work near Nazareth had finished.


Timeline of Jesus' Life

It's important to consider where Jesus lived in assessing his lifestyle...

  1. Mary lived in Nazareth when Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Joseph lived there too although he may have been out of town for extended durations working.
  2. A short time later Mary travelled to a town near Bethlehem to assist Elizabeth who was now 6 months pregnant. It is unknown who made the trip with her. Joseph may not yet have known she was pregnant.
  3. Three months later, presumably just after Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist, Mary returned back to Nazareth.
  4. Less than 6 months later when Mary was close to giving birth, she and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem. Even though Mary had relatives there, for some reason (perhaps Mary had gone into labor) they looked for public accommodations but couldn't find any, presumably because there was a yearly feast going on and because it took them longer to travel since Mary was so pregnant. You would think they would have left Nazareth sooner but maybe Joseph had some work commitments he had to finish.
  5. After Jesus was born, apparently they settled in Bethlehem. Herod killed children younger than 2 years old implying Jesus was perhaps nearly 2 years old.
  6. When he was 8 days old, Jesus was taken to the temple to be circumcised.
  7. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt. Presumably they lived off the gifts from the Magi, selling portions as needed.
  8. Several years later, they returned to Israel. Joseph intended to settle in Bethlehem again but they went to Nazareth again instead.
  9. They made regular pilgrimages to Jerusalem and presumably stayed in and around Bethlehem with relatives. Perhaps Mary stayed there for extended periods of time introducing Jesus to the Rabbis and the other consecrated virgins she grew up with at the temple.
  10. Just before starting his public ministry, Jesus went to see John the Baptist at the Jordan River. Notice that Jesus came from Galilee, and Nazareth was a town in Galilee.
  11. After being baptized by John, Jesus wandered in the desert for 40 days even going to Jerusalem for a while.
  12. Jesus began his ministry in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus was not shy about asking wealthy and influential people to give him a place to stay or to fund his ministry; presumably his disciples would stay there as well.