“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”- Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:5
Did you catch that?? Most of us have, as with many of Christ’s Sayings, either explained His Words away or allowed them to “slip in one ear and out the other.” Follow with me, if you will, the logic…
…having one’s sight restored is the solution for blindness…
…having the full use of one’s legs returned is the solution for being lame…
…the miraculous and complete restoration of one’s hearing is the solution for being deaf…
…resurrection (spiritual, mental and physical) is the solution for death…
…AND THE GOSPEL IS THE SOLUTION FOR POVERTY…!!!
This scenario, in which Jesus is responding to an inquiry of John the Baptist through the Baptist’s disciples, is repeated in Luke Chapter 7. And this isn’t the only place where Christ makes this connection between the Gospel and the poor:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…” – Jesus Christ, Luke 4:18
Jesus is quoting the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1) where the word “onium” (plural) or “anav” (singular) is translated by the King James Version (KJV) as poor, needy, weak, afflicted, humble or meek.
How does the Gospel of Jesus Christ resolve the issue of Poverty?
Here’s a clue:
“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
Think about it: NO ONE LIVING IN HEAVEN IS POOR…at any level (spiritually, mentally nor physically)!
Spiritually, everyone in Heaven is filled with the Spirit of God; being filled with God means sharing God’s Nature, Character and Virtue. Everyone in Heaven loves what God loves and hates what God hates.
Mentally, everyone in Heaven is filled with the Mind of God; being filled with God’s Mind doesn’t necessarily mean knowing what’s on His Mind…but it does mean thinking IN THE SAME WAY that God thinks, employing Divine cognitive logic (and the compassion that goes with it).
Physically, everyone in Heaven is filled with the Power of God; being filled with God’s Power means having access to His Strength and Immortality–with the understanding that God’s Strength can only be used to perform God’s Will and participate in God’s Purpose.
What does this have to do with the Gospel?
First, we must understand that, for everyone in Heaven (and the entire unfallen Universe, for that matter) the Spirit, Mind and Power of God has been, is and always will be supplied through Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10). All unfallen beings understand that they can claim no credit for any of their virtues; all of their abilities and powers are gifts from Christ, through Whom and for which thanksgiving and glory are continuously ascribed to God.
Second, every good and perfect gift we earthly sinners still enjoy (wealth, wisdom, genius, health, etc.) are gifts from the Same God…though we are much more reluctant to credit God for them, being enemies of God by nature. Instead, we claim glory for the pleasures and abilities we enjoy, pretending that the True Source of our gifts doesn’t even exist.
Along with our pride came fear, greed and other evidence of our spiritual impoverishment, all of which led to manifestations of poverty at the mental, physical and yes, economic levels.
Yet, despite the poor reception He was destined to receive, the Fountain of every good and perfect gift Himself descended from Heaven to Earth to restore the Connection to God that all unfallen beings enjoy. To accomplish this Christ, in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR POVERTY that we through Him may enjoy all the gifts, rights and privileges He Himself has always enjoyed as The Holy One of God.
When we give Jesus our sin, He gives us His Righteousness. When we give Jesus our bitterness, He gives us His Joy. When we give Jesus our selfishness, He gives us His Immense generosity. When we give Jesus our diseases, He gives us His Immortal Health.
Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than in the miracles Jesus performed (and continues to perform). I myself was an epileptic for 10 years; I was told the only possible cure was to have my brain cut in half–but Jesus healed me at the age of 21. I’m now 56 years of age and have NEVER had a seizure of any kind for 35 years!
I know: the exchange isn’t fair; it certainly isn’t fair for Jesus to be punished for your sins…
…but it is done; it’s been done for 2,000 years and now it is YOUR turn to exchange your heartaches and bad breaks for the Divine Favor, Wealth and Fortune that Jesus extends to the entire human race!