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“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 by his poverty might become rich.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭

This either means Jesus was rich prior to being born, hence preexisted His incarnation or after He was born he was rich continuing to work as a carpenter and then gave it all up.

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭6:3‬ ‭

When was Jesus rich?

0
2

The Lord Jesus Christ was rich during his preincarnate existence when he shared glory with his Father before the world existed.

John 17:5
“And now You, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed.”
New American Standard Bible. La Habra: Foundation Publications, 2020.

If the Lord Jesus Christ is asking the Father to glorify him—with the glory which he had with the Father before the world existed—then logically, Jesus Christ did not possess the very glory he was asking to be glorified with by the Father.

As God the Father is rich in glory,1 so was His only-begotten Son before his incarnation. However, upon his incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ emptied himself of the glory which was rightfully his2 (being the Word which was also God3), likewise depriving himself of the richness associated with his glory.

The English word “glory” is predominately translated from the Hebrew word כָּבוֹד (kavod) and Greek word δόξα (doxa), both of which are even used in the sense of “riches.”4

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Hence, glory is inextricably linked with wealth. With respect to the Lord Jesus Christ, the status of being God, owner (κύριος) of all creation, made him rich. When he became a slave (δοῦλος) upon his incarnation (which commenced with his conception), he was deprived of the richness associated with being God and was relegated to the poverty associated with being a slave.5

When the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, he was glorified by God the Father.6 Furthermore, those who are “in Christ” (i.e., Christians) are also glorified with Christ.7 Hence, Christians, like Christ himself (before his incarnation and after his resurrection), are also rich in glory.

Finally, concerning the gifts given to Christ by the wise men. As the Lord Jesus Christ was merely a child living under his father’s house, the gifts (gold, etc.) he was given belonged to his father, not to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Footnotes
1 Rom. 9:23; Eph. 3:16
2 Phil. 2:7; cf. κενοδοξίαν in Phil. 2:3. See also, this answer.
3 John 1:1
4 BDB, p. 458, כָּבוֹד (kavod), 2.; Gesenius, ed. Tregelles, 1860, p. 382, כָּבוֹד (kavod), 2.; HALOT, p. 457, כָּבוֹד (kavod), 2.; cf. Isa. 61:6 Masoretic versus LXX
5 Demosthenes in On behalf of Ctesiphon, concerning the Crown (p. 94, §131), compares being a freeman to having wealth and being a slave to being poor: «ἐλεύθερος ἐκ δούλου καὶ πλούσιος ἐκ πτωχοῦ».
6 Acts 3:13
7 Rom. 8:17: συνδοξασθῶμεν (συνδοξάζω)
References
Brown, Francis; Driver, Samuel Rolles; Briggs, Charles Augustus. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Cambridge: Riverside, 1906.

Demosthenes. Demosthenes, with English Notes. Ed. Holmes, Arthur. Part 1. London: Longmans, 1896.

Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Trans. Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux. London: Bagster, 1860.

Koehler, Ludwig; Baumgartner, Walter. A Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Trans. Richardson, M. E. J. Ed. Baumgartner, Walter; Stamm, Johann Jakob. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
27

Paul is very likely using a metaphor here. The word "rich" is often used in scripture without referring to earthly "wealth."

Consider Christ's divinity. Prior to coming to Earth, he was godly, with power and majesty ("though he was rich"). He came to Earth as the Son of God to a family in humble circumstances ("yet for your sake he became poor"), and at the end, atoned for the sins of all mankind, despite himself having been perfect and without sin.

It is through His atonement that all mankind are saved ("so that you by his poverty might become rich").

God doesn't look at earthly riches as having any eternal value (Christ echoes this when he tells Pilate "my kingdom is not of this world"). It is through eternal salvation and exaltation that we become "rich," and this richness is what Christ extends to us all.

6
  • 3
    This is the right answer. He had infinite wealth in heaven, but when He came to earth, it was all set aside until He ascended back into heaven. In light of that, the first Scripture cited in the question, 2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬, makes perfect sense. May 28 at 15:52
  • What need does he who made the stars have for gold?
    – Joshua
    May 29 at 21:34
  • 1
    It is really weird that God wants to put oneself into a destitute situation. If the thing which (if) is really God, the one should never lose one’s magnificence and glory. A human being (even if a prophet) can be in these kind of situations but God (if really God)
    – snr
    May 30 at 2:56
  • The word metaphor here really throws off your answer a lot. May 30 at 18:32
  • @snr - He led by example. He gave up the only thing we have that is truly our own: individual will, or agency. He succumbed to the will of the Father. By descending below all things (by taking on the sins and pain of this world), He elevates himself above all things, as He alone is now perfectly able to comprehend everything any of us goes through. We also owe him everything, thus giving him power and glory above that which He had prior to his time on Earth. May 30 at 23:08
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When was Jesus rich (2 Cor. 8:9)?

Answer: It is unlikely Jesus was ever wealthy.

There was probably never a time that Jesus had any earthly wealth. In fact, if anything, He relates His circumstances during His ministry:

Matthew 8:20: Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

We may never know whether Joseph, Mary, Jesus and his brothers and sisters had any riches, but it seems unlikely. They were probably a very normal family (well...) with very modest means.

Of course, this could be wrong, but it certainly does not apply to the verse in the OP. Here is a passage that is probably relevant (I'm including the surrounding verses for context):

Philippians 2:4-6: "[Do] not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men."

It goes without saying that, as God, He possesses wealth beyond human imagination. Yet, "for our sakes", He "emptied Himself, taking on the form of a [slave]" only to suffer death by torture. More profound grace could never be conceived.

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  • 1
    Fully agree - excellent answer. +1. Jesus' pre-existence and kenosis is the key.
    – Dottard
    May 28 at 10:27
  • 4
    The family received gold as one of the gifts of the wise men. Mary, herself, sacrificed the minimum requirement for her firstborn, indicating her (then) poverty prior to the visit, two years later, of the wise men. The gold may have been used in the flight to Egypt to escape Herod's attempts at murder.
    – Nigel J
    May 28 at 13:06
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 3 at 22:09
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"That you, by his poverty, might become rich"

The clue is in the words, "that you, by his poverty, might become rich." By what kind of poverty of Jesus were Christians made rich? By His physical poorness were we made millioniares? No, rather, by His poorness of spirit — His humility — (Matthew 5:3) we were made rich in spirit:

Revelation 3:18-20 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried by the fire, that thou mayest be made rich; and mayest be clothed in white garments, and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This is obviously not about the richess of physical gold, or physical sight, or physical nakedness, but spiritual gold:

Sirach 33:34 I have opened my mouth, and have spoken: buy [Wisdom] for yourselves without silver, 34 And submit your neck to the yoke, and let your soul receive discipline: for she is near at hand to be found.

Which are appropriated and available through His sacrifice, which enables mercy, and thus enables repentance (which is an avenue to His grace).

The Richness of Grace vs. the Poverty of the Lack Thereof

Revelation 2:8-9 And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write: These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive: 9 I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:14-17 And to the angel of the church of Laodicea, write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. 16 But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

Christ was rich because He was and is God, and didn't need to subject Himself to earthly poverty, or even just the povery (in contrast to Godhood) of becoming man, but did so out of love, so that we, who are not God, might recieve something of the blessings natural to Him by nature, through grace:

2 Corinthians 5:21 Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the righteous of God in him.

Philippians 2:5-11 For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. 8 He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. 9 For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: 10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Even though He was in the form of God (rich) he became a servant (poor). The sense is obvious. In doing so, and offering His life a sacrifice for sin, he opens the door of grace to us, which is a treasure, and riches.

The kingdom which God has promised to the elect is the true riches rewarded to those "rich in faith," not rich in this world.

James 2:5 Hearken, my dearest brethren: hath not God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?

Evidence for Jesus' Earthly Poverty

The Offering of the Poor

We know Jesus' parents were not rich, because they could only afford either a pair of turtle doves or two pigeons for the sacrificial offering for the dedication of the firstborn.

Luke 2:21-24 And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: 23 As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: 24 And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons:

This was the offering of the "poor," according to Leviticus 14.

Isn't He Just a Carpenter?

And Jesus could hardly have became 'rich' in his simple and presumably common trade (that of the tekton — a carpenter or builder). Nor would it suit any purpose for Him or in His ministry to be such.

Matthew 13:54-56 And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude: 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?

If Joseph was poor and could not pay for the full sacrifice for the dedication of Jesus, then can we imagine that Jesus who worked in the same trade was any better off?

Animals Have Their Homes, but the Christ Does Not Have a Bed To Sleep In

Matthew 8:19-20 And a certain scribe came and said to him: Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou shalt go. 20 And Jesus saith to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Whereas this could have the meaning that Jesus was not welcomed into anyone's home, it could also mean that he had no place to stay — nor the money to afford the 'rent' of any place to stay.

Jesus' Expensive Tunic

Some people might cite the fact that He wore a "seamless tunic, woven top to bottom" (John 19:23) seemingly of so much value or worth that the Roman soldiers wanted it, and cast lots for it (i.e. proving He was rich), as strong proof that He was 'rich.' However, this could be the masterwork of Mary, who according to a tradition, was one of the virgins who wove for the Temple (namely, the curtain) before committed to the care of Joseph (who, because of the kind of care necessary, must not merely be a guardian, but married, to avoid ill suspicion).

Whereas some people who are generally skeptical of anything not spelled out in Scripture, this is absolutely in concordance with clues in the New Testament. First, Mary is seen to for some reason believe intercourse to be out of the question when Gabriel announces she will (future tense) conceive a son who will be the Messiah: "How shall this be done, since I know not man?" ("to know" is a Hebrew euphemism for "have sex"). Second, in Mary's Song, she, like Hannah, praises God for "Looking upon the humiliation of his handmaid." This was virtually a technical phrase in this context meaning 'God has miraculously taken away my barrenness' — in a context like Mary's this would have to be either some vow or a necessity to remain a virgin which followed her sacred status in the Temple, because barrenness is out of the question (she hadn't "known" Joseph in order to determine barrenness).

Why would she leave the Temple at all? Well, at around 12-13, most girls begin menstruating, and this makes one ritually (not morally) unclean — unfit for presence at the Temple. It might also explain Joseph's apparent old age (i.e. especially in comparison to the young virgin), since he seems to die before Jesus' crucifixion, inasmuch he is nowhere spoken of or mentioned, and Mary is entrusted to the care of one of Jesus' disciples, and taken to his house, which is unthinkable if Joseph was still alive. This despite Mary being present at the cross, and at Pentecost.

We also read in the pre-Christian Maccabean literature that in the Temple there were "hai katakleistoi ton parthenon" or "the virgins that were shut up." We even speak of "cloistered nuns" today. The Talmud also mentions the veil being woven by "eighty-two young girls" (although there is a variant in the passage). We also read in the Old Testament that women "served" or "watched" at the door of the Tabernacle, which is distinctly liturgical language used of Levitical priests elsewhere.

All this to say that there was a category that allows us to explain a very nicely — even expertly — woven garment made for Jesus by His mother, without assuming she or He was rich. In fact, similar language is used of the veil and of Jesus' garment, inasmuch as the veil of the earthly Temple was rent "top to bottom" (apo anothen eos kato) and the garment was made seamless top to bottom (ek ton anothen di holou). This explanation is overlooked because it's made a controversial issue when it should not be seen as one. Besides, isn't it also fitting that she would weave the veil for Jesus' body, the new Temple?

Virtually Everything Jesus Uses Was Borrowed Or Donated

The Upper Room (Matthew 26:17-19), His Tomb (Luke 23:50-56), a donkey (Matthew 21:1-5), etc. This is not the way of someone who is rich.

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  • He became spiritually poor? Really? Do expand on that thought, thank you. May 28 at 14:17
  • @NihilSineDeo: Matthew 5:3, 11:29.
    – Lucian
    May 28 at 21:40
  • Wow! that was an impressive edit. Thank you May 29 at 3:18
  • We do not know the time remaining in Mary's betrothal period when she says "How shall this be done, since I know not man" and "I know" is present, active, indicative which means she is talking about her present, actual virginity not some future virginity. Essentially she is asking, "How can I become pregnant when my marriage is not yet consummated?" Jun 2 at 13:08
  • My purpose wasn't to make the case for the perpetual virginity of Mary, however, Gabriel's prophecy is in the future ("will concieve"), whereas the question involves her present state ("I know not man"), seen by her, obviously, as an obstacle to its fulfillment. The only way a present state of no sexual relations is an obstacle to a future conception is if the present state of no sexual relations is believed to persist into the future indefinitely. See also the allusion to Hannah/barrenness in the Magnificat. Jun 3 at 17:58
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Here rich means divine, and poor means human.

According to the orthodox study bible,

8:9 What was Christ's poverty? He emptied Himself (Php 2:5--8) of His heavenly glory to join our humanity to His divinity, and to suffer and die on our behalf. He did not owe this to us, but did so by His grace, that we might become rich in His salvation.

But why is rich = divine? It's related to the orthodox theology of Deification / Theosis. Through Christ's incarnation as a man, death, and resurrection, men can themselves become divine. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373) writes “The Son of God became man that we might become god…. [It is] becoming by grace what God is by nature.”

Swapping rich = divine and poor = human, the passage reads:

... though He was divine, for your sakes He became human, so that you through His humanness may become divine.

which, as you can see, is quite similar to St Athanasius' saying.

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  • 1
    “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:2‬ I suppose you have some backing in what you say. May 29 at 11:57
  • @NihilSineDeo Another passage regarding Theosis is Matt. 5:48 where Christ commands "Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." May 31 at 18:58
  • Shane, I agree, without any inplication of "personal pre-existence", though. Jun 4 at 17:21
  • @NihilSineDeo Yet another passage supporting the doctrine of deification is in 2 Peter 1:3–4. "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature." Aug 23 at 20:50
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I think the sense here is that both heaven and earth belong to God; as God, Jesus owned everything, but limited himself to a human life of poverty.

In Psalm 50:10-12, God says the earth belongs to him (including herds, which was the principal sign of wealth at the time):

For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.

Revelation 21:18-21 describes God's city, the heavenly Jerusalem, as being made entirely of gold, jewels, and pearls:

The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

The hymn "Thou who wast rich" explicitly interprets 2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭in this way, as Jesus leaving the riches of heaven to be born poor on earth: "Thrones for a manger didst surrender, sapphire-paved courts for stable floor."

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    – agarza
    May 29 at 3:02
  • 2
    Jesus did not own everything - he was made heir to everything. Big difference. If he was made heir to these things, they were not his to begin with. Heb 1:2 (no he didn't make the universe or the world)
    – steveowen
    Jun 2 at 0:34
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I am not sure if this is the case for this Question but often the question, "When was Jesus rich?" tacitly interprets the phrase "although he was rich" (2 Cor 8:9) through these verses at Philippians ...

[Jesus] though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave,
by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature. (Phil 2:6-7 NET)

... and tacitly assumes that Jesus Christ was not rich in any sense, while he walked on earth, and therefore he must have been rich in a "previous life", in his "pre-incarnated state".

It is necessary to understand 2 Cor 8:9 in the context of the whole pericope 2 Cor 8:1-15.

That context is about the grace of giving so that others might be rich. Paul exhorts Christians to graciously give out of what they have so that others might also have. And Paul turns to Jesus as an example for them to follow. Paul instructs them to give out of their abundance so that other saints might also have abundance.


Edited to add (June 3, 2021, 23:15 CET)

The parellel between 2 Cor 8:1-15 and Philippians 2:1-11 is even stronger, when we meditate on this verse:

“Have this attitude in/among yourselves which also [was] in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:5)


Edited to add (June 4, 2021, 19:15 CET)

It has been pointed out to me, in the Comments to my Answer, that the equation ...

rich = Son of God

... may suggest to some that "Jesus pre-existed his incarnation". This is certainly not what I think (in fact I consider the thought a disaster).

Jesus is the Son of God because he is the incarnation of God's logos (John 1:14) and this very incarnation took place thanks to the operation of God's hagion pneuma in the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35).

P.S. To pre-empt any further misunderstanding, God's logos and pneuma are not "persons", but essential attributes of God.

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  • So, when exactly did Jesus give up his richness and become poor? Can you provide an exact date? Jun 3 at 0:00
  • When you read the whole pericope 2 Cor 8:1-15, there is, in its talking of Jesus “becoming poor for your sakes”, a rhetoric element that makes your question about the “exact date” senseless. Jun 3 at 2:57
  • Your answer doesn't explain what it was that Jesus had (that made him rich) that he later gave away / lost (thus becoming poor). Paul clearly says that Jesus was rich but later became poor, so the transition from rich to poor is undeniable from the text. Can you please explicitly and unambiguously explain in your answer what you understand by 'rich' and 'poor' in 2 Cor 8:9? Jun 4 at 11:47
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator I have already emphasized the strong parallel between 2 Cor 8:1-15 and Philippians 2:1-11. I have fully quoted Phil 2:6-7. Jesus was "rich" because he was the Son of God, but, for our sakes, chose to become "poor" and live like a slave, in full obedience to his Father, our Father Read again. Read better. Jun 4 at 13:13
  • Jesus never stopped being the Son of God at any moment, so by your own definition, Jesus never stopped being rich, so he never became poor. Your definition of "rich" = "being the Son of God" doesn't make sense. Jun 4 at 16:10
0

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Mt 6:19-21

Like a roadmap to true treasure, these words lead me to consider whether Jesus’ heart may be the true source of his wealth. Stored in his heart, as perhaps nowhere else, is the incalculable treasure of the Father’s love:

  • Behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and settling on Him, and behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”- Mt 3:16-17

And flowing from Jesus’ heart, as from the same source, is an immeasurable love for his fellow men.

  • Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you - Jn 15:9

Perhaps no riches in the world could compare with that love.

  • Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends. - Jn 15:13

  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Rom 5:8

Considering the love of God that flowed in his heart, Jesus was the richest of men all the days of his life, except for one. At the hour of his death, as though all the treasures of his heart had been emptied to the last drop, he cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mk 15:34). It apparently took everything he had to pay the ransom for our sins.

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  • the idea of Jesus being forsaken is without merit. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/56291/…
    – steveowen
    May 31 at 0:17
  • I agree. I do not think that he was forsaken but loved even more. "For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again" (Jn 10:17). But his words indicate that he felt forsaken. Beyond the physical tortures, he also appears to have experienced intense spiritual suffering.
    – Nhi
    May 31 at 3:53
0

“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 by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

Jesus chose to turn his back on riches. He could have been extremely rich if he had fallen for Satan’s temptation to worship him. He would have become the king of this world. But, as we all know Jesus’ kingdom was somewhere else: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36)

The problem is that the text says that Jesus “was rich”. He was, however, only potentially so, because he chose to not fall for the temptation to exercise his powers to amass wealth. His legacy in this area was that of contentment over greed (Heb 13:5),

Both Luke and Matthew remembered what Jesus’ thought about worldly riches, however Luke’s rendition seems clearer than Matthew’s.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:20,24).

Thus, Matthew seems to differ, but the Aramaic Bible in Plain English seems to have the correct interpretation of this passage:

"Blessed by The Spirit are the poor, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mat 5:3).

Jesus also said that we should sell our excess belongings, stuff we can do without, and give to the poor to store up treasures in heaven. And that if we did this we would follow his example (Luke 18:22). “To store up treasures in heaven by giving to the poor” has to be a paraphrase of “becoming rich through his poverty”. [see also Mat 25:40-45. and Luke 12:15-21]

The other way of tackling this issue, which doesn’t seem to fit as well at first glance, is the symbolic spiritual approach, because Jesus was not a trailblazer here. It is too common to even contemplate this, because it is being repeated every day in every classroom all over the world. Even Jesus was subjected to this by the teachers in the synagogues when he was young. By teachers, rich in knowledge, who lowered themselves down to a child’s level to better teach stuff.

4
  • As I said already, your interpretation is wrong, because the original text literally says that Jesus Christ was already rich when he became poor. So I'm not sure why you wrote "Thx. Point taken" but still claim in your answer that "Jesus was not rich"... Just read the Greek yourself: "γινωσκετε γαρ την χαριν του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου οτι δι υμας επτωχευσεν πλουσιος ων ινα υμεις τη εκεινου πτωχεια πλουτησητε".
    – David
    May 30 at 19:00
  • @David. I took your advice to heart and added a clarification. You find it in the last sentence of the first paragraph of my answer. May 30 at 22:19
  • 1
    Frankly, that 'clarification' is just an attempt to retain your strange interpretation no matter what. If you read the writings as they are, without forcing what it says through your own preconceived theological views, it would be obvious that 2 Cor 8:9 is unambiguously not about material riches. Seriously, read the whole thing and pay attention to the author's repeated metaphorical use of the word "πλουτιζειν" and its relatives. It's all there, in chapters 6,8,9.
    – David
    May 31 at 11:14
  • @David. I did read the whole of 2 Cor 8, and I thought I saw in the context exactly what I based my answer on. It stands between the context and that Greek word apparently. People see things differently. Besides God’s Word is like a two edged sword. Can have more than one meaning in other words. Although your answer is probably better than mine. May 31 at 13:45

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