Summary: Luke's gospel tells us that Mary and Joseph offered the poor person's sacrifice when taking Jesus to the Temple. Why would God have chosen for His Son to be born into a poor family?
TWO YOUNG PIGEONS: Jesus’ family gave the poor offering.
- Luke 2:24.
- Unless you know the Old Testament background, the mention of dove/pigeon offering is one that we would pass right over. We have no frame of reference on what it means.
- When we look back in Leviticus, though, we get an interesting detail: the offering that Mary and Joseph offer is the poor person’s offering.
- God, with His concern for the poor, stipulated less expensive offering options for those without the means to afford the regular offering. Mary and Joseph could not afford the regular offering.
- This is a point worth some thought: God chose a poor family for Jesus to be born into. Why? Why not a family with more means?
- Tonight I want to explore that idea for a while and look at a few passages that I think give us some insights in that direction.
HOW WOULD JESUS HAVE BENEFITED BY BEING RAISED IN A POOR FAMILY?
- I want to give five ideas and with each one I want to look at a specific Scripture reference that will help show how being raised poor had practical consequences in Jesus’ life that helped Him fulfill His mission.
1. Poor families were insiders to the target group.
- Luke 4:14-21.
- It’s a big deal to know that someone knows where you’re coming from. It’s easy to say that you sympathize with someone, but it’s different when someone has actually been through what you’re going through.
- I may tell you I’m sorry about the loss of your spouse, but that’s not the same thing as having gone through it myself.
- Jesus knew what it was like to grow up poor. He actually lived that out, day after day, year after year.
- Why is this important? Well, look at Luke 4. Jesus is at Nazareth and giving what could be described as His mission statement. It’s too easy to read His words without thinking about what exactly He’s saying. It’s not just a bunch of pretty, noble-sounding words. It’s an accurate description of what Jesus intends to do.
- For us, the key phrase is early: “to preach good news to the poor” (v. 18).
- Jesus’ ministry included preaching good news to the poor. He knew their struggles. He knew their problems. He knew their frustrations. He knew their hopes. He knew their fears. Why? Because He’d lived the life of a poor man.
- This was an advantage as He shared the gospel. He connected to them in a way that He otherwise could not have.
2. Poor families find it easier to abandon to God.
- There is an interesting detail in the story of the rich young ruler that is relevant to our discussion here. A rich young man asks Jesus about inheriting eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments, which has faithfully done. Jesus then ups the ante and calls him to sell all he has and follow Him. At this the man walks away dejected, because he’s unwilling to part with his substantial wealth.
- Jesus then delivers a shocking statement: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 24). That’s shocking to those listening because in that day they presumed that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing on your life.
- Jesus identifies a fundamental problem with wealth – it’s hard to let it go. It gets its hooks in us and it’s hard to break free. It’s not just that it holds onto us, though. We hold onto it with both hands.
- Jesus was tempted like we all are (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He stood up to temptation and emerged victorious.
- Presumably wealth would have been another temptation for Him. His poor upbringing made it easier for Him to abandon to God’s will.
- It’s easier for poor people to abandon to God’s will. They don’t have the hook of wealth pulling at them. Certainly there are other issues that all humans deal with, but the wealth issue is substantial.
3. Poor families rely on God.
- John 5:19.
- Poor families are often at the edge of destruction. Because they are barely making it, it doesn’t take much to get them off-track. There’s not a lot of margin.
- Without additional resources, they are often in a situation where they have to rely on God. They pray more often because they need His help more often.
- This shows up in an interesting way in Jesus’ ministry. Many presume that Jesus was a Superman with the power to do miracles, but John 5 tells us that it was not Jesus’ power in and of Himself, but it was God the Father’s power flowing through Him.