Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jesus' Home

Jesus owed a home – his own home – in Capernium, which was his base of operations. That's not a quotation from the Bible, therefore I will show scripture that leads one to that conclusion. Just as the Bible does not use the word "Trinity" when referring to the Godhead and people still accurately deduce the Trinity from scripture, so you may deduce here that Jesus was a home owner.

Understanding that Jesus owned a home is not as weighty a matter as understanding the Trinity, but it's still relatively important because people base their doctrines on what they believe about Jesus. If they view him as a homeless beggar, they are going to emulate him by becoming monks and taking vows of poverty. They will be begging for bread from the producers in society, and at the same time condemning those producers for not being as holy as they are. But if they believe just the opposite, then their whole outlook on Christianity is changed.
This Bible study has three parts: The Foundation, The Fact and The Fullness and concluded with The Finish.
The Foundation
There is only one place in the Bible that suggests Jesus was homeless, recorded in Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58. This is the quote from Luke 9:51-58.
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified (so says the first line, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven"). He would never again see his home and friends in Capernaum. He came to a town in Samaria and they turned him away. Jesus had no place to go but to sleep in a field or find another village to take him in. At that time, an important man, a teacher of the law (Matthew 8:19), said "I will follow you." Jesus replied, "The Son of Man has no place to lay his head." That should not be taken to mean homelessness was Jesus' lifestyle. It only means on that day Jesus had no where to sleep.
Other than that verse, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest Jesus was homeless. It would be just as valid for me to say, "Prove Jesus was homelsess," as for you to say, "Prove Jesus owned a house."
Much of what we think in religion comes from tradition and not from the Bible. That's nothing new. Jesus frequently reminded the Pharisees that his doctrine was from the Scripture and they were follow their traditions, which were not from God nor in the Scriptures. In like manner, many Christians cling to tradition and church doctrine more than Scripture, and they suffer the same judgmental spirit that the Pharisees suffered. Believing Jesus was homeless is one of those traditions not found in the Bible.
The Fact
Jesus moved from Nazareth, where his mother and brothers lived, to Capernaum, which became his base of operation, as recorded in Matthew 4:13 and 17,
Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum...
From that time on, Jesus began to preach...
To show that Jesus had a home in Capernaum, we read Mark 2:1,
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.
The Greek "had come home" is ev oiko estin (Nestle Arland 26th Edition) or eis oikon estin (Textus Reciptus 1550), which literally reads "in home is" and "to home is" respectively.
The Greek oikos mean house, home and dwelling place (among other location descriptions). The words used in the Greek above are oiko and oikon, which is a variation of oikos, just as "home" is a variation of "house."
It can not be translated that Jesus was at his "hometown" because the Greek for hometown is patris. And besides, Nazareth was his hometown. This word used here is oikon, "home," an individual dwelling place, his house.
That Greek phrase, eis oikon estin in Mark 2:1 has been translated variously as:
King James Versionhe was in the house
(not "a" house but "the" house.)
New King James VersionHe was in the house
New International Versionhe had come home
New Revised Standard Versionhe was at home
New American Standard VersionHe was at home
Revised Standard Versionhe was at home
The Source New Testamenthe was at home
The Fullness
This section gives scriptures and reasons that show it is reasonable to think Jesus would have had a house. It is so reasonable that this section should convince someone even before the previous section, The Fact.

• It's unreasonable to think Jesus was homeless.
Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum. To think that Jesus was homeless in Nazareth and moved to homelessness in Capernaum is ludacrous.
Does a homeless person get respect? Would Jesus have been invited to speak in the synagogue on Sabbath if he was homeless? And yet, Jesus was respected and invited to speak.
Jesus was a carpenter ("builder"). Do you think he built things on the streets where he was living? Or was he at his home?
Do you think Jesus practiced and taught people to be beggars, living off the labor and sustenance of non-believers who had homes? Believers are the children of God, the children of a great king! How dare any of us live in poverty, unless we are specifically ministering to those in poverty, such as Mother Teresa did in India.

• Jesus supported his mother
When hanging on the cross, Jesus delivered his mother to the apostle John to care for.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother... When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Mary had five sons and two daughters. Jesus was her oldest son, and as such it fell on him to care for his mother after his father died. If Jesus was a homeless beggar, why didn't one of her other sons take her in? Why didn't James or Joseph or Judas or Simon take her in? Why would she be living in the dirt with Jesus?
And besides, if John was Jesus' apostle, why wasn't he homeless, too? How could he have taken Mary into his home if he was homeless?

• Wealthy People Supported Jesus
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
Iin this particular narrative, these people were on the road at that time. It may not be hard for a person or family to give a soitary wandering beggar food, but to provide for thirteen beggars, three women, "and many others" is quite another matter. Who would be able or willing to do that?
These people traveling from village to village were funded. They could pay their own way, purchase their own lodgings and food. Besides, why would Joanna, the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's (the king) household, be allowed to travel as a beggar? Wouldn't that embarrass not only Cuza but the king himself?
If these people, men and women together, had no homes and were sleeping in their fields, there would have arisen accusations of immorality from the Jewish leaders. Yet nowhere in the Bible does anyone raise a question of general immoratility among Jesus' followers. They were paying their own way; they were not homeless.

• Jesus Taught In The Fields, Not Lived In Them.
Thousands of people followed Jesus. When he fed five thousand, he was in the fields, outside the city. When he taught the Sermon on the Mount, he was in the fields, not in the city. That was because the small cities could not accommodate such a large crowd. Small towns had no place for lodging or general meetings for so large a group. The fields and along the beach were the only place where Jesus could teach his followers.

• Marriage in Cana
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
The wedding described here is lavish. After all the wine had been drank, Jesus created 25 more gallons. Many people were invited from miles away. Mary came from Nazareth, 37 miles away, a journey of two days. Capernaum is 17 miles from Cana. Some of Jesus discipes (who were also invited) were from various other towns, such as Bethsaida.
Stop and think about that for a minute. Do you think that was typical of weddings in Galilee? Do you think every poor person gave such a lavish wedding? Not at all! The general marriage custom was for a woman to move into the man's house, and that was it, that was the marriage ceremony. Only wealthy people gave lavish wedding ceremonies, just as it is today.
Mary and Jesus must have been close friends of these wealthy people. Otherwise, why would a wealthy person invite a poor, destitute woman from a village 37 miles away? Why would wealthy people invite Jesus and his disciples, especially if they were homeless? And what gave Mary the right to command the servants to do anything, unless she had the authority to do so?
Because of the marriage ceremony in Cana it is unreasonable to think that Mary or Jesus were poor, homeless and living on the streets.

• The Apostle John Was Known Among the Elite in Jerusalem
Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
There was more than one high priest; that is why they took turns doing priestly duties at the temple. The "other" disciple (John) was known to the high priest. Apparently he was so well known that even the girl attending the gate listened to him and did what he said.
Do you think the high priest or anyone in the ruling elite would give respect and credence to a poor, homeless, rabble-rouser?
That is coupled with the fact that John had his own house, as we saw earlier when he took in Jesus' mother.

• Feeding the Five Thousand
Mark 6:35-38,
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take 200 denarii! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
200 denarii is eight months of wages (NIV) or a year's wages (The Source NT). What does that translate to us? If our average American wage is $30,000 (US), then 8-12 month's wages is $20,000 - $30,000.
Why did the disciple say "200 denarii"? Why not 100 denarii? Why not one million denarii? Why did he select 200 denarii as the price not enough to feed so many people?
There is one reasonable explanation. 200 denarii was the amount of money they had in the bag, in the treasury. After Jesus had told them to feed the five thousand, the disciple said there's not enough money in the bag to feed them. They only had 200 denarii ($25,000), and that was not enough.
Jesus, the apostles and the disciples had money enough for their ministry. They were funded. They paid their own way. They paid their own lodgings. They had their own homes in their home towns, which they went to between speaking engagements, which took place in the field.

The Finish
Although this finishes the Bible study, it obviously does not finish all the arguments and reasons involved in showing that Jesus was not homeless – that is, he had a home. For example, I could have talked about what Jesus meant when he told people to give up their possessions, or why didn't all the disciples in all the churches give up their houses and possessions in order to follow Jesus.
This short study should be enough to convince any unbiased reader that Jesus not only would have owned a home, but it is entirely reasonable and expected that he would have had a home.

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