Understanding the background of Jesus Christ is crucial to understanding His personality and His statements. Before His birth, Isaiah, a true prophet of God in Israel, prophesied the birth of a son upon whose shoulders the government of God shall be Isaiah 9:6. Within three years of His ministry, God confirmed Jesus twice. First before John in Jordan Mathew 3:17 and later, before Simon (Peter), James and John; God thus urged all created beings including humans, to listen to the Lord Jesus Mathew17:5.
As Jesus is the Way and the Truth and Life John 14:6, mankind has no choice than to listen to their maker John 1:3-8, in other to have a meaning before God. This was the reason Jesus would not let any moment go by without redirecting us to God. It was also for this reason that Jesus continued to have issues with the rich and the Pharisees.
People who possess wealth are said to be rich. Even as the definition for ‘rich’ varies with people, the bible shows instances of people who were rich such as Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, the rich young ruler, etc. Apart from the rich young ruler, whose source of wealth would not be determined, the others could be traced to the promises of Genesis12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:9-21; 17:1-23 and the flaming obedience of Abraham to God.
Wealth is supposed to be a blessing from God as seen in Abraham and others, but because of the law of opposites, there is this type of wealth in which the God of Abraham has no hands in. Few examples are the wealth that results from falsification, stealing and manipulation of a system or people and thereby taking advantage of the system and the people to become rich. The latter is widespread and even includes some among the body of Jesus Christ.
Regardless the source of wealth, the rich ought to be alarmed, given that every single statement that Jesus made, none of it failed to be fulfilled. Jesus made many damning remarks about the rich using exactly the same words He used for Judas Iscariot in Luke22:22.
In His epic sermon on the mount Jesus blessed some and cursed some:
1. Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God Luke 6:20; But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation Luke 6:24. (Woe = calamity, misery, agony, grief, etc)
2. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled Luke 6:21; Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger Luke 6:25.
3. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh Luke 6:21; Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep Luke 6:25.
4. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake; rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven Luke 6:22-23; Luke16:19-31; but woe to you when allmen speak well of you Luke 6:26, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
When a wealthy young man rejected Christ’s condition for salvation following his grip on wealth, Jesus concluded that it is near impossible for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God Mark10:25; Mark10:17-27. Thus, even if a Carmel goes through the eye of a needle, it will still be very hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God because no person can serve mammon (money) and God at the same time Mathew 6:24. This was why the wealthy young man needed (and the rich need) to redistribute their acquisitions among the poor Acts 2:43-45; but he bluntly refused, as almost every rich person still bluntly rebuffs this salvation condition Mark10:22.
Here is what the bible has to say: ‘Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and they do not resist you’ James 5:1-6.
There seems to be arrogant display of power and pride by some preachers. The Lord’s verdict on the rich is that of total condemnation, but some preachers insist we should and must get rich, and many brethren have aligned with the preachers and zealously crave for the earthly riches thus ignoring the Lord Jesus.
The bible is plain that they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. O man of God, Flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness 1Timothy 6:7-11.
As we decide to follow the bible and Christ’s conditions for our salvation, let us devote prayers for the protection and comfort of all children and mothers particularly those trapped in Syria and similar locations. Pray for quick restoration of peace in Syria and for the protection of Israel. Remain vigilant in prayers for our sick neighbours including those we might not be aware of.
May God be glorified! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM