Chapter 4 – Jesus and Money, A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis

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This is not for a traditional review, but represents internal dialogue that I am having with this book. You can follow along with the series by using the tags at the bottom of this post.

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I like the books which challenge every position. BW3 does that slightly when he cautions against assuming that just because Jesus was non-violent, doesn’t mean he was socially conservative and refused to threaten the status quo.

Also, “Jesus didn’t have much regard for “money” as it existed in his day. I might go so far as to say that we cannot assume that the money and wealth categories of Jesus’ day is the same categories in use today. Of course, that subject has already been touched upon. That line starts off the unusual way in which the author sees the rendering to Caesar bit. You’ll have to read this for yourself either in this book or the others that the author has written about that topic. He contends that Jesus wasn’t trying to separate the secular and the sacred, as is often the case for interpreters here. He is right that regardless, the actions here of Jesus didn’t bring him closer to the establishment or the counter-establishment. Basically, Jesus acted like it didn’t matter anyway, because God was in control and that what really mattered was giving the Image of God back to God. Us. The author also tackles the issue of Peter and the Temple Tax. I agree with him here.

He gets to Luke 12.29-34 after which he comments that the gospel writer has a great concern for the way that wealth would effect the believer and is also concerned with the poor. It’s about our worries. I think maybe we should have enough not to worry, but if we have too much, we then worry about either keeping it or getting more, and equally so, in those days, if you had a lot, it wasn’t because of Wal-Mart stock. See his quote on 66 (kindle, so it might be 67) on the concerns of Luke in regards to the believer’s pocket book.

He also notes that Jesus didn’t see money itself as evil, but cautioned us on the “proper and improper uses” of it. There is also the matter of the steward, or rather, how we deal with someone else’s resources. And a word against letting money become our master. In other words, once you replace the proper use of money with the care or pursuit of money, then you start to have an improper handle on it.

He also makes the case that Jesus was neither “wealthy or indigent.” Granted, he was poor, but not homeless.

BW3 also makes an interesting statement, which I think says a lot about the poor and the wealthy, and our attitudes towards them, “Orthopraxy, or right behavior and practice, certainly matters to Jesus.” It’s what you do.

So this chapter has a little bit more to offer. Next up, is BW3 and the book of James.

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One Reply to “Chapter 4 – Jesus and Money, A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis”

  1. I enjoyed your series of posts about Prof. Witherington’s books, Joel. Thank you! Yet, I must comment that when one is on the edge of destitution, it is extremely difficult to assimilate a conversation on whether or not the “Judeo/Christian” philosophy is pro or con money. Did not Jesus state in Luke 9:58 & Matt 8:20 something about his personal situational awareness, if I may use the term loosely, or was he referring to someone else?

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