Thursday, April 2, 2015

It Still Puzzles Me: Why Jesus Chose to be Son of a Poor Carpenter

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HISGROUP DISCIPLESHIP. It's all over the Old Testament--God blesses people who serve him--spiritually, physically, and materially--especially materially. We're all familiar (even network marketers know this today) with Deuteronomy 8.18--"But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today." The bible has lots of verses to this effect.

In fact, it was precisely why God got them out of Egypt in the first place--for prosperity reasons. God got them out of bondage to slavery and poverty to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey and where there was plenty of iron and copper and other precious metals and stones. God's image was one who prospered his chosen ones.

But why did Jesus choose to be son of a poor carpenter? Wouldn't it serve his words better if he had come from at least a well-to-do family? Wouldn't it prove God's image of prosperity provider? Wasn't Jesus God's standard, that all you have to do is look at Jesus to know God's will for you? So, why didn't Jesus live a high standard of living?

If you're honest about it (without any religious hullabaloo), don't they measure a church's success today by it's income? It's the reason why they want more members, because more members means more income. And why the drive for more income? Because they see it as God's favor on a church. When a church is mega, they say it's really blessed by God. I've never heard anyone say the same of a small, poor church. The general idea is that if you're small you're not blessed--you may even be doing something wrong. If so, then why did Jesus opt to live and die a poor guy?

Why was he poor? Was he doing something wrong?

It's been mind-boggling to me since I became born again on September 5 1980. Others take this for granted and just keep up with church traditions. As long as they're attending a church they're comfortable with, they don't care about seeking deeper and disturbing truths. One guy told me, "Oh, that's too deep for us. We're just simple, regular believers who want a simple church life." 

In short, they're lazy to meditate the Word. But the Word says grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Probably, they fear to see truth behind things and are unwilling to change accordingly. Seeing truth requires radical change. You can't know God's truth and remain the same. So, perhaps they think, it's better to know nothing about truth--just settle with how things have been going on for years. And anyway, ministry achievements yield better returns than seeking truth. 

But I want to seek deeper. Jesus didn't opt for a poor carpenter's family for nothing. There is deep meaning into this and I want to know what, even if it takes me a lifetime. We may be running after the wrong standards--favoring material prosperity and visible achievements when the fact is Jesus emphasized the poor in spirit and the meek, the lowly and persecuted, those belittled and disdained by the world. James said God chose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith.

I think something has been terribly going wrong unnoticed here.

Moses was on top of the world when he was allied with Pharaoh, educated with high wisdom. But God couldn't use him in that condition. God had to turn him into a lowly shepherd that stuttered when he talked (shepherds were the lowest in stature in those times). Brought radically low. he was then able to lead a whole nation--millions of Israelites--out of Egypt and cross the desert. There's something deep and powerful about being lowly, poor, and despised--something many today fail to  see and appreciate. Everybody wants to be great, recognized and moneyed.

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