Bible · Jesus Christ · New Testament · philosophy · religion

The non-“social justice” Jesus was an equal opportunity critic of both rich and poor

rich young ruler with social justice twistAmong the many misconceptions some people seem to have about the Lord Jesus and his disciples is that they were always “nice” to common people, poor folks, and outcasts and only criticized the rich and powerful, especially if they were religious. Somehow people who hold to that belief think it’s wrong to be critical of or “judge” people who are less fortunate and/or less educated while those who have more deserve to be judged more stringently to keep the universe in balance since the rich all too often game the system. There’s something wrong with that scenario. It assumes Christ and his disciples played favorites, which would violate God’s word in these scriptures:

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Leviticus 19:15

Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man… Deut. 1:17

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34-35

Jesus died for everyone–rich and poor. Yes, he and his disciples were very compassionate and charitable to the poor. But they ministered to the rich also and confronted the poor. Contrary to popular liberal belief, they weren’t socialists, giving preferences to the poor with “social justice.” We know this based on the following examples:

–After Jesus healed the poor man at the pool of Bethesda, he found him in the temple and said, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee,” (John 5:14).

–When Zacchaeus, a very rich tax collector who gamed the Roman system, repented and made amends, Jesus immediately forgave him saying, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:9-10).

–When Jesus went home to the synagogue where he grew up, he chastised the common people at the synagogue for their lack of faith and “did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58), they then tried to kill him when they attempted to throw him down a steep hill nearby (Luke 4:24-30).

–As Jesus dined among tax collectors and sinners at Levi’s house (Matthew), when the scribes and Pharisees criticized the company he was keeping, Jesus called those people sick sinners who needed him to call them to repentance. And he said it while they were there listening (Mark 2:16-17). They didn’t get all huffy about being called sinners, but saw it as Jesus’ love.

–The wealthy centurion who needed Jesus to heal his servant told Jesus that all he had to do was say the word and he knew his servant would be healed without the Lord coming to his house. Jesus responded, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,” (Luke 7:1-9).

–Jesus confronted the common woman at the well about her adultery, fornication, and misconceptions about religion (“Ye worship ye know not what”, or, “You don’t know what or why you worship”) and she gladly accepted what he told her and ran into town to tell all the men about Jesus (John 4:16-29).

These are just a few of the many examples in the New Testament. Taking into account all of them gives us a more accurate understanding of the character of Christ and his disciples than the world (the Pope and President Obama included) wants to portray.

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