Are we treating Jesus with contempt?
Am we treating Jesus with contempt? Now that is a tough question. I don’t really want to think about it. Why does Jesus ask such tough questions?
Yet, if I am nullifying what Jesus wants to be happening, is that not contempt? If I don’t help the poor or those in prison, is that not contempt?
Jesus is clear that if I don’t help them, I am evil and going to spend my eternal life in “fiery hell”.
And Jesus said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? (Mar 9:12 NASB)
It is a challenge. I see the homeless. Do I give them some money? Won’t they just use it to buy drugs or booze? Why don’t they have a job, I think. I feel justified in not giving.
Jesus says ‘Yes’ it is your duty to give. It isn’t my job to judge why they are begging. God’s goal for me is to give. That is all I need to know.
What does Jesus think? This may run afoul of the “official stances” of the homeless social services organizations. They have great reasons for their logic. That isn’t what Jesus challenges us to do. I am going to follow Jesus.
In this message, Regina Wong shares the incredible story of transformation among the YWAM base and the homeless in her hometown of Singapore, and explains how the roots of transformation began on a personal level with Regina and her core team here at the Christian Training Center.
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The Bible acknowledges the fact of homelessness and instructs us to help those who are poor and needy, including those in homeless situations.
Jesus could identify with the homeless in His itinerant ministry. In Matthew 8:20, Jesus states that even animals have a place to call home, but He had nowhere to lay His head.
When Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave the order to go to the other side of the sea. A scribe approached him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He stayed in the homes of whoever would welcome Him and sometimes outside. He was born in a stable and even spent His last night before His crucifixion outside in a garden. The apostle Paul was also at times in a homeless situation
Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless (1 Corinthians 4:11).
God expects His people to help those who are homeless. The Law directly addressed care for those in need.
In Leviticus 25:35 God commands His people to help support those who have no home and cannot support themselves:
“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you”.
The Master rebuked those who kept the outward form of religion yet did not care for the poor:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6–7).
The book of wisdom, Proverbs, lays down the principle of giving to the poor and attaches it to a blessing:
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17).
Those who refuse to help the poor will find themselves on the losing end:
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses” (Proverbs 28:27).
In the New Testament, Jesus and His disciples regularly gave to the poor, and Jesus commands that we follow His example and also care for the poor:
“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).
As James points out, talk is cheap; our talk (and our faith) must be accompanied by action:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15–16).
The Bible does not shy away from the difficult and unpleasant reality that some people have experienced terrible setbacks and hardships in their lives, even to the point of becoming destitute. The Bible recognizes that poverty, social injustice, and homelessness are real problems that constantly plague society.
The Bible teaches that we are to be radically different from the world in how we view and treat our neighbors. In fact, we should go out of our way to provide for the homeless and others in need, trusting God to reward us in His time. Our Master said:
“When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13–14).
God created all people in His image, everyone, regardless of social status or economic limitations, has intrinsic worth. Oppressing or exploiting those who are weaker or poorer than we are is wickedness. From cover to cover, Scripture says that we should show generosity, compassion, kindness, and mercy in practical, tangible ways.
Even our Master Jesus “did not come to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).