20Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Matthew 8:20 (NIV)
This must be one of the most abused verses in the Bible. Theologians and doctrine worshippers love to use this verse as their “indisputable proof” that Jesus was poor when he was on earth. After all, Jesus himself said he has no place to lay his head. How poorer can a man gets? So as far as the theologians and the doctrine worshippers are concern, this verse alone is good enough to prove their heresy.
It does not matter to them that Jesus’ family received many chests of gold before he reached the age of two. It also does not matter to them that Jesus financed his own ministry. Jesus never conducted any fund raising activities like the religious preachers of today. Jesus never begged or threatened anyone for money. He never behaved like the pastors of my first church. Jesus had his own money and he even had assigned a disciple to carry his wallet for him. This tells us that Jesus’ wallet must be quite heavy. Jesus’ life story tells us that he must be very rich. Yet, some heretics can use just one verse in Matthew 8:20 to say otherwise.
In this article, we shall look into the real meaning of the above verse. What was Jesus actually saying? Did Jesus really say he was poor? Based on the context of his life story we know for sure that Jesus was rich, not poor. The only time the Bible said Jesus was poor was when he was at the Cross. At the Cross, Jesus died poor for us to live rich.
Please note that Jesus did not just say he had no place to lay his head alone. He compared himself with the foxes and the birds. Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but Jesus has no place to lay his head. This sounds like Jesus was poorer than the foxes and birds. Let us look into the foxes and birds. How do the foxes get their holes and the birds get their nests? How much do they pay for their holes and nests? The answer is nothing. Foxes dig their own holes and birds build their own nests using branches. So, if Jesus wanted a hole, he can dig one. If he wants his own nest, he can build one himself. How can Jesus be poorer than the foxes and birds?
Obviously, Jesus was not talking about how poor he was. This means the idea that Jesus was so poor that he has no place to lay his head is pure heresy that comes from the pit of hell. Only theologians and doctrine worshippers believe in it.
What exactly was Jesus referring to when he said those words? He was simply referring to the fact that he has no permanent base for his ministry. In today’s context, he did not have a headquarters to base his ministry on. The above verse was Jesus’ reply to a teacher of law who said he wanted to follow him. It seems that the man wanted to be one of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus was basically letting him know about the working environment in his ministry so that the applicant can make an informed choice on whether he wanted to join Jesus’ team. Jesus’ message to this man was his ministry was always on the move. Anyone working for him will be expected to travel from place to place. You cannot expect to have a permanent office in Jesus’ ministry. That is all. There is no other hidden message.
Jesus was not trying to tell us that he was very poor. Jesus was rich, not poor. If anyone quotes the above verse to “prove” Jesus’ poverty, you can refer this person to this article.