Here is how Jesus characterized his own ministry in Luke 4: 17-21:
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD."
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
When we lived and worked in the East End of London in the UK, at that stage a very socially deprived and poor area, historically one of the problems the churches there faced was that when people became Christians, in general, their physical/financial situation improved to the point that they could move out of the area. That is to say, the impact of the Gospel was not just spiritual, it affected other aspects of life too.
What did Jesus mean by good news to the poor? What would Jesus say to this beggar?
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7 replies on “Good news to the poor”
Does it matter if he is crippled underneath that blanket or not?
If he is crippled, Jesus probably would heal him, and then ask him not to tell anyone, and then the guy would get up and go tell everyone.
I cannot think of an example in the Gospels where someone was begging that was not blind or crippled or diseased.
Do the same guidelines apply to someone who is poor because they are crippled and somebody who is poor because they are lazy or because they would rather sit on the couch smoking pot and collecting welfare, rather than working at McDonalds to feed their baby?
A non-Christian friend of mine posted on Facebook just this morning that he watched a homeless woman ask another woman for money, the other woman offered the homeless woman a fresh, unopened sandwich that she had just purchased at a deli, the homeless woman declined the sandwich and kept walking. My friend’s comment on the situation was “I have no pity for her.”
Are we as Christians admonished to help someone knowing full well that they are just taking advantage of us? Is that the equivalent of turning the other cheek if someone strikes us on one cheek?
I tend to think it is and we are admonished as such, but it is very difficult to do, and I have not always been successful in that regard.
Look at the eyes of the beggar, go on, go and have a deep long look. Don’t they look strangely familiar to you? Are they not the the eyes of Jesus himself? Are they not the eyes of someone saying ‘Be with me’? Jesus might well say ‘I am with you’.
We can give without loving, but we can’t love with giving. Amy Beatrice Carmichael – Missionary to India
I agree that we should use discernment and be wise stewards of our resources, but I cannot remember an example in the Gospels where Jesus asked, “How did you come to be in this situation?”, a question so many of us ask, especially political conservatives I’m afraid to say. In John 9:2, Jesus was asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered — “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” I guess what we should take away from this is — Go and do likewise, that is display the work of God.
Dan, is it possible the same reason that Jesus did not ask, “How did you come to be in this situation?” is the same reason why I cannot think of a beggar that we are told Jesus helped that was not blind, crippled or diseased? The man in John 9:2 was born blind. I am quite sure in that age, he would have a difficult time supporting himself.
Obviously there is a difference between a person who is unable to fend for themselves, and someone who is capable but refuses to. I am also quite sure that there is a huge culture difference between the middle east of Jesus’ day and America in 2011. A state of mind that many people have, especially political liberals, I’m afraid to say, “I don’t want to or need to do anything, the big nanny government will just tax the rich and take care of them.”
I do not see people like the man in Felicity’s picture here in my little town in middle America. I have been struggling with the fact that I am not doing much to help the poor and the needy or take care of widows and orphans. I pray that God will use me in that regard, but I do not see ways to help around here. I do see a lot of people that receive welfare from the government, but do not look anything like the needy man in the picture.
I have recently befriended a young man on Facebook that lives in Ghana Accra in Buduburam, the Liberian Refugee camp. My heart goes out to him, I believe finding food is a struggle for him, but I do not know how to help. I have been researching and finding some different ministries that are there in the area, and I guess I can support them, but I want to help my friend Dramou. If I could I would bring him here to America to live with me, but he knows the Lord and witnesses to people there. I believe the Lord probably has him right where He wants him. I pray for him and try to talk with him on Facebook, but I feel like I am doing very little.
“I do not see people like the man in Felicity’s picture here in my little town in middle America.”
I live in a town of 10,000 people in Wisconsin. I don’t see anyone like that either. But people here do get divorced. There is sexual assault. There is child abuse. There is drug abuse and addiction. There is domestic violence. There are abortions. There are single mothers. There are elderly who need help getting around or to stay in their home or who would appreciate a visitor in the nursing home. Go to the local courthouse and ask to read the felony complaints filed in the last month. Maybe even sit in on a sexual assault or drug trafficking case and count the number of sad, broken lives in the room. Check the county’s human services department for statistics on the above areas. Check with the school district to see how many children get free lunches because they live below the poverty line. You may be surprised what you find. I’m sure God can use you right where you are.
Stephen…harsh. Maybe somebody had already given the woman food and what she needed was a drink, or medicine, or who sanitary towels, or a million other things we privileged don’t even think about. And, would that there were McDonald jobs in my town, ANY jobs. There is a new class division here in my town; those who have permanent work and those of us who haven’t, who can’t find ANY work of ANY description. I would take anything. There is NOTHING. I heard that employment chances in the US was as bad if not worse.
How can you judge? And becareful how you judge
Great comments, everyone. Here’s a thought: is there a distinction between caring for our brother or sister in need, and caring for a stranger?